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

A little more than half of registered voters nationwide believe that marijuana should be leagal, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University released Wednesday.

The poll shows that 51 percent of voters believe the country's prohibition on marijuana should end, while 44 percent do not. But the issue of legalization creates a divide along partisan, gender and generational lines.

Nearly 60 percent of Democrats support legalization, while a little under 70 percent of Republicans are opposed. Fifty-nine percent of men believe pot should be made legal, but 52 percent of women do not.  And large majorities of voters under the age of 30 and between the ages of 30 and 44 are in favor of legalization, while 56 percent of voters over the age of 65 are not.

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Tony Fratto, once a spokesperson for former President George W. Bush, used Twitter on Wednesday to attempt to assuage Republicans who still have reservations about raising tax rates on the highest income earners.

While he doesn't find them "ideal," Fratto reminded his followers that such tax rates were in place during former President Bill Clinton's two terms in the 1990s.


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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is currently in Afghanistan visiting soldiers from her home state, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. 

Brewer left Arizona on Sunday, and her whereabouts and intended destination were both initially undisclosed. A spokesman for the governor said only that she was traveling on "official business." Brewer filed a notice with the state's secretary of state before her departure indicating that she would be out of Arizona until Saturday.

NBC sportscaster Bob Costas on Tuesday sought to clarify the editorial he read at halftime of Sunday night's NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. Those remarks, made in the wake of the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, sparked controversy among many on the right. 

Appearing on MSNBC, Costas reminded viewers that he was quoting "one aspect" of a piece by sportswriter Jason Whitlock, who wrote that Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins would still be alive if the troubled football player didn't possess a gun. Costas acknowledged that other factors were involved in the murder-suicide but he chose to mainly focus on America's "gun culture" due to time constraints.

"I do not think that's the only aspect, or possible aspect. There's clearly a domestic violence aspect, there's clearly the question -- as I alluded to in a general way -- of what effect playing football, which we know has debilitating effects on mind and body at least for some, what effect that might have had," Costas told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell. "What effect alcohol and drugs might have had. And then another aspect of that is easy access to guns and a gun culture, and it was that aspect, the gun culture, that I focused on, not to the exclusion of the others but just because I didn't have all that much time."

Watch the interview:


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Fifty-eight percent of Americans favor an end to the country's prohibition on marijuana while nearly half believe that President Obama should not undermine a new law in Colorado permitting recreational cannabis use, according to a poll released Tuesday. 

The poll, conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling on behalf of the Marijuana Policy Project, shows that 33 percent of those who believe that marijuana should be legal feel strongly about the matter, while a quarter supports legalization but does not feel strongly. 

Moreover, 47 percent believe that Obama should allow Colorado to implement Amendment 64, a law passed last month by voters in the state to regulate marijuana comparably to alcohol. Only 33 percent think that Obama should wield federal resources to prevent the law from taking effect and 20 percent said they aren't sure. 

Fifty-five percent of Coloradans voted in favor of Amendment 64, giving the measure more votes than Obama picked up in the state.

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Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) continues to look susceptible to a primary challenge from the right in a poll released Tuesday, but the two-term incumbent comfortably tops all would-be intraparty rivals — except for former presidential candidate Herman Cain.

The latest automated survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling shows that a slightly plurality of Georgia Republicans, 43 percent, would prefer someone more conservative. Thirty-eight percent of GOP primary voters said they want Chambliss to be the party's nominee in 2014. 

Despite that vulnerability, the poll shows Chambliss trouncing every prospective candidate who's signaled an interest in running — Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and former Secretary of State Karen Handel. Chambliss likewise claims wide leads over long-shot candidates such as conservative commentator Erick Erickson, who announced last week that he will not run.

But Cain, the colorful former pizza magnate who saw an unlikely rise in the polls last year as a presidential hopeful, tops Price among in-state Republicans 50 percent to 36 percent. Chambliss is by far the most electable Republican, the poll shows, indicating that the 2014 race in Georgia could bear some resemblance to a key 2012 senate race.

From PPP:

In terms of the general election the Georgia Senate race is somewhat reminiscent of the Indiana contest this cycle- if Chambliss is the nominee the seat is probably safe for the GOP, but if someone far to his right wins the primary the Democrats might have a chance if everything goes their way.

The only Democrat who comes particularly close to Chambliss is 2002 foe Max Cleland, who despite being quite popular with a 50/27 favorability rating, only musters a tie at 45. Chambliss leads former Governor Roy Barnes 48-40, Congressman John Barrow 50-37, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed 52-37, and State Senator Jason Carter 52-34. Those folks are all of a higher caliber probably than who the Democrats will be able to get to run, and they still don't come all that close.

The reason Chambliss does so well against all of those folks is that he actually has a fair amount of appeal to Democrats. 28% approve of him, a lot more crossover support than we see for most politicians these days. If Chambliss was taken out in the primary, it's likely the Republicans would end up with a nominee who doesn't have that going for them. We tested Tom Price against all the Democrats as well and he would trail Cleland 47-39 and Barnes 46-40 while leading Barrow only 40-38, Reed 43-38, and Carter 42-36. It could have the potential to be a race if Chambliss does get primaried.


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Former Vice President Dick Cheney is writing a book on his "many battles with coronary disease and the revolutionary changes in treatment that helped keep him alive," the Associated Press reported Monday.

Cheney is collaborating with his cardiologist on the book, which is slated to be published by Scribner next fall.


Former Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) has resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks following a dispute over the direction of the leading tea party organization, Mother Jones reports

Armey's decision has yet been made public, but his resignation was outlined in an email sent to Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, and obtained by Mother Jones on Monday. The email indicates that the two sides are not parting on congenial terms.

From the report in Mother Jones:

In the email, Armey indicated that he wants nothing to do with FreedomWorks anymore. He asked that all user names, passwords, and security-related data created in his name be emailed to him by the close of business on December 4. He even insisted that FreedomWorks—"effective immediately"—was "prohibited" from using a booklet he authored. Was Armey's resignation a reaction to the recent election results? "Obviously I was not happy with the election results," he says. "We might've gotten better results if we had gone in a different direction. But it isn't that I got my nose out of line because we should've done better."


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