Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom


In a statement released by his office on Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg castigated the press conference held earlier in the day by leaders of the National Rifle Association, who he accused of engaging in "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country":

The NRA's Washington leadership has long been out of step with its members, and never has that been so apparent as this morning. Their press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country. Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe. Leadership is about taking responsibility, especially in times of crisis. Today the NRA's lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence. While they promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives - not only in schools, but in our movie theaters, malls, and streets. Enough. As a country, we must rise above special interest politics. Every day, 34 Americans are murdered with guns. That's why 74 percent of NRA members support common sense restrictions like criminal background checks for anyone buying a gun. It is time for Americans who care about theSecond Amendment and reasonable gun restrictions to join together to work with the President and Congress to stop the gun violence in this country. Demand a plan.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on Friday dismissed comments made by National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, who called on Congress to allocate funding to provide armed policie officers in all of the country's schools.

"I do not believe those remarks represent anywhere near a significant portion of America," Hoyer said during a press briefing with House Democratic leaders. "I don't believe, frankly, that they represent necessarily the majority of views of responsible members of the National Rifle Association who want guns to hunt, want guns to protect their home and their house, and our children. But the recommendation of an arms escaltion in America is not, I think, a solution that the american people believe makes common sense."


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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Friday said the budget proposal floated by House Speaker John Boehner that failed to garner enough votes represented a "direct assault" on the middle class.

"First of all, we're here for the middle class," Pelosi said during a press briefing with Hosue Democratic leaders. "The bill that would have come to the floor was a direct assault on middle-class. And the idea of the speaker says, 'well, I'm giving additional tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country while I raise taxes on the middle-class,' well, I don't think that is a very good idea and that is how I would answer it."

During a press briefing with House Democratic leaders on Friday, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) highlighted his party's triumphs during this year's elections, saying that Republicans involved in ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations are acting "in defiance to the will of the people." 

"The American people have spoken loud and clear," Clyburn said.



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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Friday criticized Congressional Republicans for walking away from fiscal cliff negotiations "every time we are close to a solution." 

She also called on both sides to return to the negotiating table to strike a deal before the year-end deadline.

"We have no right to walk out the door of Congress without a resolution to this challenge," Pelosi said during the briefing. 

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Former Republican National Committee chairman and MSNBC commentator Michael Steele on Friday said he found the press conference led by National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre "very haunting and very disturbing."

Asked by MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts for his immediate response to the NRA presser, Steele initially appeared speechless.

“I don’t even know where to begin," Steele said. "As a supporter of the Second Amendment and a supporter of the NRA, even though I’m not a member of the NRA, I just found it very haunting and very disturbing that our country now, that are talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms. What does that say about us? And I do not believe that's where the American people want to go. I do not believe that is the response that should be coming out of the tragedy in Newtown."

Watch the exchange:


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Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the GOP whip, told conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin on Friday that he will oppose the nomination of Chuck Hagel if President Obama taps the former Nebraska senator to serve as secretary of defense as is widely expected.

“I can’t support a Hagel nomination if it comes,” Cornyn said, making him the first senator to publicly state his opposition to a Hagel nomination.  

Cornyn said his opposition stems from Hagel's positions on Israel's national security.

“I’ve heard prominent Democrats concerned about his position on Israel," Cornyn said. "Many Republican have said they did not want to prejudge. But it would be a bad move and one of the reasons I’ve taken the position [to oppose]. ‘Mr. President don’t do that. It would be a bad nomination.’”


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During a press conference on Friday, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, urged leaders on Capitol Hill to provide sufficient funding in order "to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation."

"I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation," LaPierre said.


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Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, sought to draw attention to what he called the "corrupting shadow industry" of violent video games during a press conference on Friday.

"There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people," LaPierre said. "Through vicious, violent video games with names like "Bulletstorm," "Grand Theft Auto," "Mortal Kombat," and "Splatterhouse."

He then highlighted an online game called "Kindergarten Killers" that he said has been accessible on the Internet for a decade.

"It's been online for ten years," LaPierre said. "How come my research staff can find it and all of yours couldn't or didn't want anyone to know you had found it?"


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Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said during a Friday press conference that the pro-gun lobby has remained "respectively silent" since last week's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. "out of respect for the families" of the victims.

“Out of respect for the families and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment," LaPierre said. "While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectively silent."