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

The first two funerals for the 20 youngsters killed in last week's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary will be held in Newtown, Conn. Monday.  

Services for Noah Pozner, 6, and Jack Pinto, 6, will be held Monday afternoon. 

A gunman opened fire in a San Antonio movie theater Sunday evening, wounding a man in the facility's parking lot before he was shot by an off-duty sheriff's deputy who was working security, the Associated Press reports. 

The gunman first fired shots inside a nearby restaurant before making his way toward the movie theater. He fired one shot inside the theater after wounding the victim in the parking lot, but no one was harmed. He was then shot by the off-duty sheriff's deputy.

A spokesman for the Bexar (bayr) County sheriff said the victim's injuries are not life-threatening. 

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More details emerged Wednesday from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's (R) testy response to a reporter who asked her about climate change last week. Among the details was that the governor reportedly hit the reporter with her closed fist after he asked her the question.

A local photographer who was present at the now-viral Q&A told media blogger Jim Romenesko about details that weren't originally broadcast on Phoenix television. He said Brewer "held a crude smile and just stared" at KTVK's Dennis Welch for several seconds after he asked her whether she believed global warming was man made. (She eventually responded that she did not.) 

The photographer described the exchange as "funny and kinda surreal":

After her answer, a handler swooped in and whisked her away, but about three paces out she turned back around to face the reporter who asked the last question. He had turned to a camera operator and seemed to be putting his microphone away. Brewer took her left hand, balled it into a fist and with the back of her hand she slugged the reporter on the back of his right arm. Not hard, but with enough force that he spun around to see what was going on.


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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday said actress Ashley Judd would have a difficult time connecting with Bluegrass State voters if she opts to make a run for U.S. Senate in her native Kentucky.

Durin an interview with the radio station WMAL in Washington, D.C., Paul took several jabs at Judd for her place of residence and liberal politics.

“I heard she lives in Scotland,” Paul said. " I thought she was running for Parliament." Judd and her husband, Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti, have a home in Scotland. 

Paul went on to say that Judd's worldview, namely her position on coal production, makes her ill-suited to represent Kentucky.

"She's way damn too liberal for our country, for our state," Paul said. "She hates our biggest industry, which is coal. I say, good luck bringing the 'I hate coal' message to Kentucky."

Listen to the interview here:



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Ron Jesmer, who served as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2010 and 2012, is joining FP1 Strategies as a partner, the Republican firm announced Wednesday.

Jesmer was a top strategist to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) during his four years as chairman of the NRSC. 

Former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK), who publicly flirted with the idea of pursuing the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee earlier this week, said on Wednesday that the GOP must take a serious look at its outreach efforts to various constituencies in the wake of the party's disappointing showing at the polls last month. But Watts, responding to indications that current RNC chairman Reince Priebus has already secured enough support to win another term, said that the group "probably isn't ready for the kind of change that I would be proposing."

"That tells me that the RNC probably isn't ready for the kind of change that I would be proposing," Watts said during an appearance on MSNBC. "It tells me that we continue to grade our own test and if you continue to grade your own test, you continue to make a good grade. And so I think we've got to take a serious look at where we are as a party and look at what has happened to us in the last couple elections."

Watts continued, "And I think there's enough fault to go around for everybody, but at the same time I do believe that the Republican National Committee, the place where all of these things, these type of outreach efforts, these type of relationships, where they should be built, I think it should be in that institution."

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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) may be one of the foremost tea party champions, but a poll out Wednesday indicates that the overwhelming majority of voters in his state do not identify with the conservative movement. 

The poll, from Winthrop University, shows that nearly 91 percent of registered voters in South Carolina do not consider themselves members of the tea party. About 6 percent of Palmetto State voters said they are a part of the movement. 

The top leadership posts within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are largely occupied by registered Republicans, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday.

Public records obtained by the Tribune indicate that 11 of the church's 15 apostles are members of the Republican Party. That includes the church's president, Thomas S. Monson. The other four apostles are not affiliated with any political party. All 15 voted in last month's general election, while none participated in this year's Democratic primary election.

Mitt Romney became the first Mormon to earn the top spot on a major party's presidential ticket this year. An exit poll from Pew Research Center indicated that Romney won 78 percent of the Mormon vote in 2012, which was actually slightly smaller than the share picked up by former President George W. Bush in 2004. 

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Few would argue that Gallup was more successful in calling the 2012 presidential election than New York Times polling wunderkind Nate Silver, but a survey released Tuesday indicated the American public still trusts Gallup more.

The survey, conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, showed a plurality of voters, 31 percent, trust Gallup more than Silver. Fourteen percent give the edge to Silver. Perhaps most tellingly, 55 percent of voters surveyed aren't sure who they trust more.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will leave her cabinet post in good standing with an American public that would strongly support her presidential bid in 2016, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 68 percent of American adults approve of the job Clinton is doing at the State Department, while 66 percent said they have a favorable opinion of her. 

Those numbers alone would augur well for her future presidential prospects, but a separate question in the poll fully affirms how strong her candidacy would be. Fifty-seven percent said they would support Clinton should she make a White House bid in 2016, while 37 percent would oppose her candidacy. 

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