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


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday responded to accusations that the sharp criticisms directed at United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice by he and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have been motivated by racism or sexism. South Carolina's senior senator retorted that such criticisms are meant only to divert from the most pertinent point. 

“Well, when you can’t answer the question you attack the questioner. The only color I’m worried about when it comes to Benghazi is red, blood red. The death of four Americans," Graham told Fox News Channel's Steve Doocy. "And what motivates Sen. McCain and myself is that we were in Libya last September, we came back and wrote an op-ed piece that if we don’t form a national army to replace these militias, Libya’s going to break apart. And the sad story is not just the four dead Americans, which is heartbreaking, the Libya people want to move forward. And this leading from behind by Obama, we’ve done nothing to help them form an army to replace the militias.”

On Tuesday, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) — a fellow member of the Palmetto State's Congressional delegation — contended that critics of Rice, an African-American, were using racially tinged "code words." 


Former Romney campaign adviser Dan Senor on Wednesday acknowledged that he and his fellow Republicans misread the American electorate in 2012, while suggesting that the election proves there is "some kind of systemic crisis today in the world of polling." Senor specifically highlighted the poor performance by right-leaning pollsters such as Rasmussen, as well as Gallup. 

"There is some kind of systemic crisis today in the world of polling, I think particularly on the right-of-center polling. The modeling was way off," Senor said during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "How pollsters on the Republican side, although not just on the Republican side, you saw Gallup make similar mistakes, you saw Rasmussen make similar mistakes. The understanding, the assumptions made about what the electorate looked like was way off." 


(Photo: Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey/DoD/Newscom)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has maintained strong popularity throughout his first term, but a Rutgers-Eagleton poll out Wednesday indicates that his handling of Hurricane Sandy has won him even more admiration from his Garden State constituents.

The poll shows that 67 percent of registered New Jersey voters have a favorable opinion of Christie, amounting to a 19-point jump since the previous Rutgers-Eagleton poll in late-September. A whopping 92 percent of all adult New Jersey residents surveyed — a broader pool of respondents than the registered voters sample — believe that Christie handled the disaster at least somewhat well. 

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released a statement on Tuesday in which he responded to reports that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) scrubbed references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points used by United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and others following the September attack in Benghazi.

McCain said the revelation runs counter to what he was told by intelligence officials during Senate hearings and serves as another reminder of why he and other Republicans are "suspicious" of the Obama administration's response to the attack.

The statement:

“I am somewhat surprised and frustrated to read reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was responsible for removing references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points about the Benghazi attack that Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used in the early days after September 11, 2012. I participated in hours of hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week regarding the events in Benghazi, where senior intelligence officials were asked this very question, and all of them – including the Director of National Intelligence himself – told us that they did not know who made the changes. Now we have to read the answers to our questions in the media. There are many other questions that remain unanswered. But this latest episode is another reason why many of us are so frustrated with, and suspicious of, the actions of this Administration when it comes to the Benghazi attack.”


Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) on Tuesday announced that he will not run for his old job as governor of the Commonwealth in 2013, The Virginian-Pilot reports. The decision keeps Warner in the Senate, where he has served since 2009. He was governor of Virginia from 2002 until 2006. 

"I loved being governor, but I have a different job now -- and it's here in the United States Senate," Warner said in a statement. "At times, it's been frustrating, but I believe this work is important for Virginia and for our country, and I intend to see it through,"


Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged former hedge fund manager Mathew Martoma with securities fraud for his alleged role in a highly lucrative insider trading case. Martoma allegedly made illegal use of information regarding the clinical trials for a druge designed to treat Alzheimer's.

Prosecutors said various investment advisors and hedge funds raked in more than $276 million before the adverse results of the clinical trials were revealed in 2008. A U.S. attorney involved in the case said the case "might be the most lucrative inside tip of all time."

A Florida-based Denny's franchisee who said last week that he'd impose a surcharge and cut employees' hours in order to pay for the new health care law received a slap on the wrist from his corporate higher-ups on Monday.

John Miller, chief executive of Denny's, told the Huffington Post that he privately expressed "disappointment" to John Metz, who made headlines last week when he said he will implement a 5 percent surcharge and slash employees' hours to less than 30 per week in order to prepare his business for the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, widely known as 'Obamacare.'

"We recognize his right to speak on issues, but registered our disappointment that his comments have been interpreted as the company’s position," Miller told HuffPo via email. Metz, who owns more than 40 Denny's restaurants throughout the South, expressed "regret" in a statement released on Monday.

Witnesses in Gaza City on Tuesday said Palestinian militants killed six suspected Israeli collaborators, the Associated Press reports

According to the eye-witness accounts, the six men were dragged out of a van at a heavily trafficked intersection in the city and subsequently shot to death while lying face down in the street.  The military wing of Hamas has taken responsibility.