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


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) probably wouldn't relish a campaign against his idol, but a poll released Friday indicates that not even rock icon Bruce Springsteen could top the popular Republican in the state's gubernatorial race next year. 

The latest automated survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling shows Christie comfortably besting "The Boss" in a hypothetical (and probably far-fetched) matchup 61 percent to 25 percent. Christie also claims large leads in the four other matchups tested by PPP, including a 14-point edge over Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker. 

Christie's Springsteen fandom is well-documented. When the two chatted at a benefit concert in November for victims of Superstorm Sandy, Christie said he was moved to tears.


Read More →

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) would carry his own state in the 2016 presidential race over Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) but a Hillary Clinton candidacy would keep the Garden State blue, according to a survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling released on Friday.

In the hypothetical matchups, Christie tops Biden by 6 points and Cuomo by 15 points. But the popular Republican governor is no match for Clinton, who beats Christie in the poll 52 percent to 40 percent. A Republican has not carried New Jersey in a presidential election since 1988.

The poll also shows a slight plurality of 44 percent would prefer Christie not to run for president in 2016, while 38 percent would like him to run.

Read More →

Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman continued to offer a critical take on his party's current woes, arguing during a Friday morning appearance on CNN that the GOP often gets bogged down addressing "fringe issues."

"We kind of drift in areas where we take on fringe issues, and it gets us stuck in the alleyways of life that take our focus away from what is really important for the American people, and that is individual freedom and that is getting the budgets balanced so people can get on with their lives," Huntsman said.

The comments come on the heels of an interview Huntsman gave to the Huffington Post earlier this week in which the former Utah governor took aim at other members of the GOP presidential field in 2012.

Read More →

The Associated Press reports:

Tens of thousands of protesters took the streets in Egypt denouncing President Mohammed Morsi and a draft constitution that his Islamist allies approved early Friday in a rushed, all-night session without the participation of liberals and Christians.

Anger at Morsi even spilled over into a mosque where the Islamist president joined weekly Friday prayers. In his sermon, the mosque's preacher compared Morsi to Islam's Prophet Muhammad, saying the prophet had enjoyed vast powers as leader, giving a precedent for the same to happen now.


Read More →

An anaylsis from the New York Times on Friday indicated that Americans in 2010 paid "far less" in combined federal, state and local taxes than they did in the 1980s.

From the report:

But in fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.

Households earning more than $200,000 benefited from the largest percentage declines in total taxation as a share of income. Middle-income households benefited, too. More than 85 percent of households with earnings above $25,000 paid less in total taxes than comparable households in 1980.

Lower-income households, however, saved little or nothing. Many pay no federal income taxes, but they do pay a range of other levies, like federal payroll taxes, state sales taxes and local property taxes. Only about half of taxpaying households with incomes below $25,000 paid less in 2010.

Read More →

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) heads into his re-election campaign as the "most unpopular governor" that Public Policy Polling has measured, according to a survey from the Democratic-leaning pollster released on Thursday.

The automated poll shows Quinn nursing a paltry approval rating of 25 percent. Sixty-four percent of Illinois voters disapprove of the job he is doing. Moreover, Quinn trails in two out of the three hypothetical 2014 general election matchups tested by PPP. His lone lead is a one-point edge over Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL).

And Quinn, who succeeded disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in 2009, has few allies within his own party. The poll shows that Illinois Democrats would rather see former White House chief of staff Bill Daley or state attorney general Lisa Madigan represent the party in the 2014 gubernatorial race instead of Quinn.

Read More →

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday had harsh words for the vote by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a nonmember state.

"I want to say a few words about the unfortunate and counterproductive resolution at the United Nations General Assembly," Clinton said at an event in Washington, D.C.

Clinton went on to say that the vote "places further obstacles in the path of peace" and is not a prescription for peace between Palestine and Israel.

"We have been clear that only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and the Israelis achieve the peace that they deserve," Clinton said.

Read More →

In the weeks following Mitt Romney's defeat to President Obama, there's been no shortage of reports suggesting that the former Republican nominee's campaign was caught off guard by the election results. The surprise among the Romney team has been attributed to internal polling data that gave the GOP ticket a false sense of confidence. Now, details of those internal numbers are finally beginning to trickle out.

Noam Scheiber of the New Republic reports today on a handful of internal polls conducted on behalf of the Romney camp on the Saturday and Sunday before the election in six battlegrounds: Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado and New Hampshire. While the two-day averages showed Obama with the lead in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, the data showed a tied race in Iowa and gave Romney the edge in Colorado and New Hampshire.

From Scheiber's report, which includes reactions from the Romney campaign's pollster Neil Newhouse:

The first thing you notice is that New Hampshire and Colorado are pretty far off the mark. In New Hampshire, the final internal polling average has Romney up 3.5 points, whereas he lost by 5.6. In Colorado, the final internal polling average has Romney up 2.5 points; he lost by 5.4. “I’m not sure what the answer is,” Newhouse told me, explaining that his polls were a lot more accurate in most of the other swing states. “The only ones we had that really seemed to be off were Colorado—a state that even Obama’s people tweeted they thought it was going to be one of their closest states—and the New Hampshire numbers, which seemed to bounce a lot during the campaign.”

Read More →

A spokeswoman for Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) on Thursday offered a peculiar explanation for why the re-elected congressman is abandoning Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge: his district number changed.

Originally elected in 2010 in New York's 20th Congressional District, Gibson won a second term this year in the state's newly redrawn 19th Congressional District. That, Gibson's spokeswoman Stephanie Valle said in a statement, is sufficient reason to walk back the pledge he signed two years ago. Like the old 20th District, Gibson's current district also encompasses New York's Hudson Valley although it does lean slightly more Democratic.

The statement:

The Congressman signed the pledge as a candidate in 2010 for the 20th Congressional District. As a 24-year veteran of the United States Army, without a legislative record, the pledge was his commitment to the district he was running to represent that he would fight for Upstate families, small businesses, and farmers in Congress, recognizing that high taxes are an impediment to growth in New York and result in less discretionary income for NY families. Since being elected, he has fought for these pro-growth policies that include reforming the tax code to close loopholes that don’t grow the economy so that we can lower rates for families, small businesses, and farms in New York.

Regarding the pledge moving forward, Congressman Gibson doesn’t plan to resign it for the 19th Congressional District, which he now represents (the pledge is to your constituents of a numbered district). Those voters have just evaluated the Congressman on his record and his record is the same as his position now – again, that he’ll fight for tax policy that helps those he represents.

He is opposed to increasing the marginal rates for individuals and businesses and has voted against this as a standalone measure; however, he will consider all comprehensive packages brought forward as a result of bipartisan negotiations.


Read More →