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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 Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday voted unanimously to move the special election to replace outgoing Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) to April 9, the Associated Press reports.

After the special election was tentatively planned for March 19, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) made it clear earlier this week that he preferred to have it coincide with municipal elections already scheduled for April 9 in order to save the state money. The Senate must now approve the date change.

Jackson announced last week that he was resigning from Congress to cope with his bipolar disorder.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on Wednesday offered a critical response to Larry Summers, the former economic adviser to President Obama who earlier in the day suggested that the mortgage interest deduction should be phased out as part of the ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations. The deduction allows homeowners to trim their taxes based on the amount of interest they pay on their housing loans.  

DeFazio rejected such a proposal, noting that he's rarely seen eye-to-eye with Summers.

"I don't think I've ever agreed with Larry Summers on anything. He was a disaster as an adviser to Obama," DeFazio said during an appearance on MSNBC. "That's crazy. The one tax break most middle-income families in this country can get unlike everything that's available to the wealthy and the special interests and everybody else is their mortgage interest deduction. I'm going to fight to keep that."

Author Tom Ricks had some choice words for Fox News earlier this week, but the former Pulitzer Prize winner doesn't much care for the left-leaning cable news alternative either.

Following his much-discussed interview with Fox on Monday — during which he criticized the network's coverage of the September attack in Benghazi — Ricks was approached by MSNBC for an interview. 

“MSNBC invited me, but I said, ‘You’re just like Fox, but not as good at it,’" Ricks told the Washington Post on Tuesday. "They wrote back and said, ‘Thank you for your candor.’”

 

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced that the oil company BP will be temporarily suspended from landing new contracts from the federal government for its conduct during the Deepwater Horizon crisis, Bloomberg reports.

BP plead guilty to criminal charges for its role in the 2010 oil spill, which was the worst in U.S. history.

 

A video courtesy of the Associated Press captured footage of Egyptian authorities firing tear gas at protesters in Cairo on Wednesday. The protest was held in opposition to the recent power grab by President Mohammed Morsi.  

 

Pfc. Bradley Manning may testify for the first time on Wednesday, the Washington Post reports. Manning's attorney is trying to persuade the judge that that the 24-year-old Army private's detention before his trial began was unlawful.

Manning is accused of leaking scores of documents to Wikileaks. 

The proposal to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 annually — one of President Obama's central campaign pitches — continues to be popular among a large majority of Americans, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out Wednesday.

Sixty percent of those surveyed support the proposal, compared with just 37 percent who are opposed. The debate over raising taxes on the high-income earners was one of the defining issues of the 2012 campaign, although polls have consistently shown broad support for the proposal backed by Obama and the Democrats.

Meanwhile, an even larger portion of Americans — 67 percent — are opposed to raising the age for Medicare coverage from 65 to 67. Some Republicans such as Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) have suggested raising the Medicare eligibility age as part of their proposal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."

The Post provides a breakdown of the across-the-board opposition to the change to Medicare eligibility:

Democrats, Republicans and independents also unite in opposition to hiking the entry age for Medicare, with the opposition particularly stiff among Democrats. Opposition to such a change peaks (naturally) among those aged 50 to 64 — the very people who will soon reap those benefits.

Author Tom Ricks continued his battle with Fox News on Tuesday in a series of emails with TPM, insisting that he never really apologized for attacking the network's coverage of the September attack in Benghazi in his now-viral interview.

Fox executive Michael Clemente has repeatedly said that Ricks apologized to the network following the Monday interview. But in the email to TPM, Ricks called Clemente's account "misleading."

"Rather than quote an offhand departure comment that is misleading, you should ask Bret Baier about the conversation I had with him after the interview," Ricks told TPM. "It was lengthy, and on point. And contained no apologies."

"You pretty much have my end of it," Ricks wrote in another email. "But there is more to be told by Fox."

They are both widely admired by New Jersey voters, but a poll released Tuesday shows that Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a commanding edge over Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) in a potential preview of New Jersey's 2013 gubernatorial race.

In the latest Rutgers-Eagleton poll, Christie leads Booker in the hypothetical match-up 53 percent to 34 percent. Although Booker enjoys high popularity among New Jersey voters surveyed, it's nothing compared to the star status attained by Christie. Sixty-seven percent of voters approve of the job Christie is doing, the same percentage who have a favorable view of the first-term governor. Among the 52 percent who have a favorable opinion of Booker, 43 percent would still support Christie over the Democrat.

The PollTracker Average illustrates how Christie's already-high approval rating improved even more following Superstorm Sandy, which rocked New Jersey late last month.

 

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