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

Democrats and Republicans diverge sharply on their opinions of capitalism, socialism, big business and the federal government, according to a survey from Gallup released Thursday.

The poll shows that Republicans react more positively to terms such as "capitalism" and "big business" than their Democratic counterparts. Seventy-two percent of GOPers surveyed have a positive opinion of capitalism, while 75 percent view big business in positive terms. Democrats react more coolly to both: 55 percent have a positive impression of capitalism and only 44 percent have a positive opinion of big business.

The reactions flip when it comes to "socialism" and the "federal government." A little more than half of Democrats, 53 percent, have a positive view of socialism, while 75 percent have a positive image of the federal government. Less than 30 percent of Republicans surveyed have a positive view of each.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) on Thursday said he's been taken aback by the amount of praise he's received from his Democratic counterparts in recent days, given that he's rarely seen eye-to-eye with any of them previously.

"I've never had so many nice things said about me by people that I don't agree with on anything," Cole said during an appearance on CNN's "Starting Point."

Cole made headlines on Tuesday when it was revealed that he urged his GOP colleagues to immeidately accept President Obama's proposal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for households earning less than $250,000, winning him commendation from congressional Democrats. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the Oklahoma congressman on Wednesday. But on Thursday, Cole re-iterated that he and Murray still aren't exactly simpatico.

"I respect Sen. Murray, but she's one out there arguing to go over the fiscal cliff. She thinks that would be a good idea. That's a crazy idea," Cole said. "With all due respect, I'm not sure she really wants my idea accepted because she's argued for the opposite position."

The BBC reports:

Julian Assange, who is living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, has a chronic lung infection "which could get worse at any moment", the country's ambassador to the UK has warned.

Ana Alban said the Wikileaks founder, who is fighting UK efforts to send him to Sweden, was suffering from living "in a confined space".

Stuart Stevens, a former top adviser to Mitt Romney, commended President Barack Obama's re-election team on Thursday, but argued that the Republican nominee ran a more nationally focused campaign.

"There were two very different campaigns that were run. When you listen to the Obama campaign and let me be the first to say they ran a great campaign. It was a campaign they could have lost and they won and that's the definition of a great campaign in my book," Stevens said during an appearance on "CBS This Morning."

"They ran very state specific issues, less of a national campaign. That was not why Governor Romney was running. He wanted to talk about big national issues — debt, entitlements, the future of the country. He wanted to put big questions before the country. And he did that. And I think the comparison of those two was striking. It was striking in the debates."

Watch the interview:



One photograph will be released from today's lunch meeting between President Barack Obama and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Major Garrett of CBS News reports:


During a respite from a meeting with his cabinet on Wednesday, President Barack Obama took the opportunity to praise United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice.

"Susan Rice is extraordinary," Obama said in a response to a question shouted from a reporter. "Couldn't be prouder of the job she's done." 

The Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday voted unanimously to move the special election to replace outgoing Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) to April 9, the Associated Press reports.

After the special election was tentatively planned for March 19, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) made it clear earlier this week that he preferred to have it coincide with municipal elections already scheduled for April 9 in order to save the state money. The Senate must now approve the date change.

Jackson announced last week that he was resigning from Congress to cope with his bipolar disorder.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on Wednesday offered a critical response to Larry Summers, the former economic adviser to President Obama who earlier in the day suggested that the mortgage interest deduction should be phased out as part of the ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations. The deduction allows homeowners to trim their taxes based on the amount of interest they pay on their housing loans.  

DeFazio rejected such a proposal, noting that he's rarely seen eye-to-eye with Summers.

"I don't think I've ever agreed with Larry Summers on anything. He was a disaster as an adviser to Obama," DeFazio said during an appearance on MSNBC. "That's crazy. The one tax break most middle-income families in this country can get unlike everything that's available to the wealthy and the special interests and everybody else is their mortgage interest deduction. I'm going to fight to keep that."

Author Tom Ricks had some choice words for Fox News earlier this week, but the former Pulitzer Prize winner doesn't much care for the left-leaning cable news alternative either.

Following his much-discussed interview with Fox on Monday — during which he criticized the network's coverage of the September attack in Benghazi — Ricks was approached by MSNBC for an interview. 

“MSNBC invited me, but I said, ‘You’re just like Fox, but not as good at it,’" Ricks told the Washington Post on Tuesday. "They wrote back and said, ‘Thank you for your candor.’”