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

Quebec Provincial Police said Tuesday that they have arrested three people in connection with the mass theft of maple syrup from a warehouse located in a town near Montreal, CNN reports. Five other suspects remain at large.

The theft transpired over the span of one year, from August 2011 until July 2012, and was discovered during a routine inventory check. The warehouse contained up to 10 million pounds of syrup, but it is unclear how much went missing.


The approval rating of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is in the gutter, according to a poll released Tuesday, the strongest evidence yet of the political perils associated with the right-to-work legislation he signed into law last week. 

According to the latest automated survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, only 38 percent of Michigan voters approve of the job Snyder is doing, compared with 56 percent who disapprove. In PPP's previous survey of Michigan in November, Snyder's approval rating was 10 points above water: 47 percent of voters approved of his performance as governor, while 37 percent disapproved.

The right-to-work bill, signed by Snyder amid mass protests, appears to have changed the political climate in the Great Lake State. Fifty-one percent of Michigan voters oppose the bill, which made Michigan the country's 24th right-to-work state, while 41 percent support the legislation. Moreover, Snyder trails every Democrat in hypothetical matchups of the 2014 gubernatorial election. 

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Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker is said to be having "serious discussions" about running for U.S. Senate in 2014 instead of challenging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in next year's gubernatorial race, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. 

The Journal quoted three people close to Booker, two of whom said the popular mayor may announce the formation of an exploratory committee later this week to run for the Senate seat currently held by 88-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). Booker may have a smoother path to the Senate chamber than the governor's mansion, given Christie's lofty standing following Superstorm Sandy. Recent polls have not only shown Christie with sky-high approval ratings, but also a comfortable edge over Booker in hypothetical matchups. 

Still, the Journal's report indicates that Booker hasn't ruled out anything yet:

Mr. Booker has been talking about the governor's race with strategists both steeped in New Jersey politics and independent from it, and he could change his mind at the last minute and still run for the state's powerful executive position next year, the people said.

"He's still talking," one person said about Mr. Booker's conversations with advisers.

The Journal also suggested that Booker, one of the most popular Twitter users in public office, might make the announcement through a tweet to his more than one million followers on the social-networking website. 

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Out, the prominent gay and lesbian magazine, named New York Times polling guru Nate Silver as its "person of the year" on Tuesday. The magazine noted that Silver's forecasts throughout the 2012 campaign "became the talk of the chattering classes." Silver, who is openly gay, correctly predicted the outcome of the presidential election in all 50 states.

In the accompanying interview, Silver expressed concern that his growing influence could cause him to lose his edge:

“It’s a bit of a cautionary tale: the bright young intellectual who either gets sloppy or people stop scrutinizing them when they should be critical of everyone and everything,” says Silver. “That’s why I need to take some time just to relax—between the election and the book, I spilled out a lot of my creative output. Hopefully it’s a renewable resource, but you need time to generate thoughts and ideas.”

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Prior to his death Monday evening, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) lobbied Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) to choose Rep. Colleen Hana­busa (D-HI) as his successor, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports.

Inouye's suggestion came in the form of a letter, which was delivered to Abercrombie on Monday morning. Abercrombie will select Inouye's replacement from a field of candidates selected by the state Democratic party. 

Two males and two females were found dead in Weld County, Colo. Tuesday morning following an apparent murder-suicide, the Denver Post reports. An earlier report indicated there were five deaths in the incident.

According to the Post's latest report, one of the victims may have been a juvenile:

The incident happened at about 4 a.m. in the Longview subdivision, said Sgt. Tim Schwartz, a sheriff's office spokesman.

The bodies of three adults, and a female who may possibly be a juvenile, were found inside a home. A person inside the home called 911 to alert authorities of the incident. There are no surviving witnesses, Schwartz said.

Investigators at the scene have recovered a handgun, which had been fired several times.

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Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced via Twitter that he will officially swear in Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) as president pro tempore of the Senate, the distinction given to the most senior member of the chamber's majority party that was previously held by the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), at 11:30 a.m. EST today.

Less than two hours after Inouye's death Monday evening, the Senate passed a resolution making Leahy the new pro tempore.


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President Barack Obama claims his highest approval rating since since the killing of Osama bin Laden, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday, but the public overwhelmingly dismisses the notion that he has a mandate.

The poll shows 54 percent of American adults approve of the job Obama is doing, compared with 42 percent who disapprove — the highest shown in ABC/WaPo's polling since May 2011. Nevertheless, 56 percent said Obama does not have “a mandate to carry out the agenda he presented during the presidential campaign,” but instead should " “compromise on things the Republicans strongly oppose." Thirty-four percent said the president does have a mandate.

Still, Obama claims an 18-point edge over Republicans in the public's trust to handle the economy, as well as a 26-point advantage over the GOP in trust to protect the middle class. Moreover, 50 percent said they approve of Obama's handling of the economy, his highest mark in the category since the ABC/WaPo poll in June of 2010, while 48 percent disapprove. 


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Michael Dukakis, the former Massachusetts governor and one-time Democratic presidential nominee, ended speculation on Monday that he will serve as interim senator following the expected nomination of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as Secretary of State. 

“That’s a no,” Dukakis said in a brief interview with Boston-based CBS affiliate WBZ-TV.

If Kerry is tapped to head the State Department as anticipated, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) must fill the seat until a special election is held.

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