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Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, Tom served as assistant polling editor for TPM Media's PollTracker during the 2012 campaign. Before joining TPM, he worked on political campaigns and wrote for various publications in Minnesota and his native South Dakota. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

ESPN's "Outside the Lines" and PBS's "Frontline" will collaborate on a year-long investigative report on concussions suffered by players in the National Football League, the networks announced Friday.

Predicated on the work of ESPN reporters Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, the project will "examine the latest research on brain injuries and football, the impact on players, and the NFL’s effort to deal with a crisis that threatens the long-term health and popularity of the sport."

The collaborative effort will begin today with a special report on Outside the Lines at 3 pm ET.

The owner of more than 40 Denny's restaurants throughout the southern region said Thursday that he will levy a 5 percent surcharge and cut employees' hours in order to offset costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act, widely known as 'Obamacare.'

John Metz of West Palm Beach, Fla. told Fox News that most of his roughly 1,200 employees will see their hours trimmed to less than 30 per week in order to eschew laws that would otherwise require him to provide them with health insurance.

"People are trying to find ways to avoid the penalties and to avoid having to pay for Obamacare," Metz said. "Everyone's looking for a way to not have to provide insurance for their employees."

On the strength of an impressive number of digital donations, the Obama campaign's fundraising haul for the 2012 cycle is poised to make history, Time magazine's Michael Scherer reported on Thursday.

According to Scherer, the amount of money raised by the president's campaign and its "affiliated party committees" is expected to top $1 billion, a landmark fundraising total. Obama's team, it seems, benefitted considerably from donations made online.

More from Time:

The reason is simple: the campaign brought in more small-dollar fundraising through email, social media, mobile and its website during the final months of the race than initially projected.

In total, according to new campaign calculations acquired exclusively by TIME, the Obama team raised about $690 million digitally in 2012, up from about $500 million in 2008, according to a senior campaign adviser. That number includes all contributions that were given electronically, including some donations that were generated by high-dollar fundraisers but logged through the website.



Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker on Thursday said his decision on whether to challenge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the state's gubernatorial election next year has been put on the back burner due to Hurricane Sandy, The Star-Ledger reported.

The Star-Ledger reported last week that Booker intended to finalize his plans by mid-December. Booker said on his radio show Thursday night that although Sandy pushed his timing back, he still plans to make a swift decision.

"I do believe I owe it to the Democratic party of New Jersey to make a decision very quickly," Booker said.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil arrived in Gaza on Friday to show solidarity with Palestinians there who have been at the center of an intensifying conflict, the New York Times reported.

Kandil's trip to Gaza comes a day after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi sharply condemned Israel's airstrikes. Israel, meanwhile, continues to absorb rocket fire from Gaza. The Times reported that Palestinian militants on Friday fired 25 rockets into southern Israel, although there were "no immediate reports of casualties." 

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) flashed his temper on Thursday morning when confronted with questions from a reporter regarding the former Republican presidential nominee's absence from a briefing on the September terrorist attacks at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

According to CNN, most Republican members of the Senate committee in charge of investigating the attacks were absent from the classified briefing, which was led by Obama administration officials on Wednesday. On the same day, McCain held a Capitol Hill press conference to call for a special investigation of the attacks and also took to the Senate floor to issue a blistering criticism of President Obama's handling of the situation in Benghazi. 

Approached by CNN's Ted Barrett on Thursday, McCain said he had no comment on his schedule or "how I spend my time to the media." When Barrett pressed McCain, the senator became agitated.

From CNN:

Asked why he wouldn't comment, McCain grew agitated: "Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, "I'm upset that you keep badgering me."

While McCain refused to shed light on why he didn't show, his spokesman Brian Rogers emailed CNN a short time later with an explanation. He blamed it on a "scheduling error" but wouldn't provide any more detail.

Watch the video below, courtesy of CNN:

 

Voters believe the 2012 presidential campaign was heavy on the mudslinging and light on the issues, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center released on Thursday.

The poll paints a portrait of an American electorate with much more negative attitudes toward the just-concluded race than four years ago. Fifty-one percent of voters believe that the discussion of issues in the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney was "less than usual," while 68 percent believe that the negative campaigning in the campaign was "more than usual."

Both numbers are higher than in Pew's survey following the 2008 campaign between Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). The negative assessment of this year's campaign colors voters' expectations for Washington in the years to come.

From Pew:

Similarly, voters do not have a particularly rosy outlook on national politics going forward. Fully 66% say that relations between Republicans and Democrats will either stay about the same (52%) or get worse (14%) over the next year. And while 56% of voters think Obama will be successful in his coming term, that is down from the 67% who thought his first term would be successful at this point four years ago.

As President Obama prepares to take on a second term, a new poll released Thursday may help crystallize what Americans believe his priorities should be for the next four years. 

The latest poll from USA Today and Gallup shows that a whopping 95 percent of American adults believe it is either "extremely" or "very" important that Obama "take major steps to restore a strong economy and job market." Eighty-eight percent apply the same designation to ensuring the "long-term stability of Medicare and Social Security," while another 79 percent think it is extremely or very important for the Obama administration to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Large majorities of those surveyed applied the highest level of importance to most of the policies included in the survey. In fact, only three policy areas were deemed extremely or very important by less than 50 percent, including one of the signature debates of the 2012 campaign: raising taxes on those with income above $250,000 (47 percent), providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (37 percent) and making significant cuts to defense and military spending (29 percent).

Karl Rove on Wednesday pointed to another reason why Mitt Romney fell short last week: the protracted Republican nomination contest that spanned several months and saw a handful of different frontrunners before the party ultimately settled on the former Massachusetts governor.

Rove, whose super PAC American Crossroads dropped hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Republican candidates this year, told a crowd at Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy in Erie, Pa. that the GOP primaries featured "way too many debates" and often veered away from the paramount issue of the economy to focus on social issues instead. The process, Rove contended, put Romney in an unfavorable light.

"Mitt Romney had what I scientifically call a butt-ugly primary,'' Rove said.

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