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

Thirty-nine percent of Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama's job performance, according to Monday's edition of the daily Gallup tracking poll, representing the lowest percentage of respondents to give Obama negative marks in Gallup's polling since June of 2011. 

It's the latest sign of Obama's post-election bump. Gallup has shown the president with an approval rating of at least 50 percent in every poll conducted after Election Day, while his disapproval rating has remained below 45 percent during the same span. But save for the one time in 2011, Gallup hadn't shown Obama with a disapproval rating below the 40 percent threshold since his first year in office.

The PollTracker Average illustrates Obama's popularity bounce that's followed his re-election.


Correction: The post has been updated to specify that the last time Obama's disapproval rating dipped below 40 percent in Gallup's poll was June of 2011, not November of 2009 as was originally stated. TPM regrets the error.


Tom Ricks, a blogger for Foreign Policy magazine and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, took a pointed shot at Fox News Channel's coverage of the September attack in Benghazi, Libya during an interview on the network Monday. 

Asked about Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) softening his stance toward the potential nomination of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ricks took the opportunity to characterize the network's coverage as politically motivated, accusing Fox of "operating as a wing of the Republican party." 

Watch the exchange here:


Former Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson announced on Monday that she will seek the Chicago-based House seat being vacated by Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), CBS News reports.

Halvorson represented a Chicago-area district for one term in Congress before she was defeated by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) in 2010. She also unsuccessfully challenged Jackson in a Democratic primary this year. Jackson announced his resignation last week to treat his bipolar disorder. A special election has not yet been scheduled.

The mayor of Toronto drew a tough ruling Monday from a provincial judge, Reuters reports.

Mayor Rob Ford was found guilty of conflict of interest for his vote on a matter in which he had a financial interest. Judge Charles Hackland ordered that Ford step down from his mayoral post.

A court in Cairo announced Monday that it will hear a challenge against a recent decree by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi that expanded his governing powers, Retuers reports.

The court will hear the case on Dec. 4. 

Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday said the pledge from the Grover Norquist-led "Americans for Tax Reform" remains "very important" to the GOP.

Spicer told MSNBC's Chuck Todd that the pledge reminds Congressional Republicans -- some of whom have expressed misgivings toward Norquist's anti-tax demands in recent days -- of the job that they are expected to address:

“ I think it's very important...I think it’s important for them to remember the problem that we have, which is a spending problem. And frankly I think we look at it in terms of any family, if your family is going into debt, the first thing you do is say, ‘Dad, go out and get a second job and raise more revenue for the family.’ You look at the family budget and say, ‘Where do we cut? How do we get back?’ Once that’s all done thoroughly, then I think you look and say, ‘Okay, we’re still a little short to pay down the debt. How do we bring in more revenue? So I think before -- for a lot of these members of Congress who have committed to saying the problem is spending, we need to reform our out-of-control entitlements, that's where the re focus should be. 


A cluster bomb dropped on a playground in a village outside of Damascus left 10 children dead in Syria on Monday, according to the BBC.

Activists claim the bomb was dropped from a government jet.

Activist Grover Norquist on Monday responded to the growing list of Republican lawmakers who suggested in recent days that they are not beholden to their anti-tax pledges, which they signed at the behest of his group "Americans for Tax Reform."

In an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Norquist specifically took aim at Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who on Sunday said a pledge "you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress." Norquist said that King and others expressed similar openness to raising tax revenues during the debt ceiling debate, while quibbling with the New York Congressman's interpretation of the pledge:

“Look, Soledad, as you know, the people making this case, the two senators and the congressman that were put forward, they all said that two years ago when we were arguing over the debt ceiling limit, so their position hasn’t changed.  And during the debt ceiling limit, we cut spending, we didn’t raise taxes, so other Republicans did not listen to Peter King and others and say, ‘Oh, let’s go raise taxes.’ They’re speaking for themselves. I do want to correct one thing. Peter King knows, Congressman Peter King of New York knows full well that the pledge he signed and others have is for while you’re in Congress, not a two-year period." 



Virginia's Democratic Senator-elect Tim Kaine said the recent triumphs of his party cement the Commonwealth's status as a battleground, but he's not ready declare it a blue state quite yet. 

In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch that ran Sunday, Kaine said Virginia has emerged as a "front-rank, center-stage, spotlight-on battleground state" that can no longer be taken for granted by either party:

We’re a forward-focused state now. We’re not people’s museum piece anymore. And there were many who had an inaccurate impression of who Virginia was. And I think what these results showed is just this: We’re a front-rank, center-stage, spotlight-on battleground state. We’re not a blue state. I don’t think we’re going to be a blue state anytime soon. But we are no longer the irrelevant state that neither Republicans nor Democrats need to come to. …I think it should be an enormous source of pride for Virginians, whatever party they are.


Americans are acutely aware of the consequences of the government falling off the so-called "fiscal cliff," according to a poll from CNN and ORC International released Monday.

The poll shows that two-thirds of American adults believe the country would face a serious crisis if a deal isn't struck between both parties by the end of the year, which would automatically trigger a raft of spending cuts and tax increases. Moreover, 77 percent of Americans believe their own personal financial situation would be adversely affected if the government goes off the fiscal cliff.

The poll was conducted Nov. 16-18 using live phone interviews with 1,023 adult Americans. It has a margin of error of three percentage points.