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Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, Tom served as assistant polling editor for TPM Media's PollTracker during the 2012 campaign. Before joining TPM, he worked on political campaigns and wrote for various publications in Minnesota and his native South Dakota. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt on Wednesday said the decision to shift locations for the president's Thursday night speech from the open air Bank of America Stadium to the indoor Time Warner Cable Arena was motivated by public safety, not concern over filling seats.

"Ultimately public safety comes first," LaBolt told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts. "We had 65,000 people slated to attend and we can't put them in that position. We looked at all of the weather forecasts out this morning and several predicted severe weather in the middle of the program tomorrow night."

LaBolt also pushed back against conspiracy theories floated by Republicans that the decision was made out of fear that the larger outdoor stadium would be littered with empty seats.

"I think those are unfortunate comments," LaBolt said. "We had 19,000 people on the wait list in addition to the 65,000 people ready to see the president tonight. I think if you look to the stories out this morning, there was a clear difference in enthusiasm here in Charlotte than you saw in Tampa last week."

Support for a proposed constitutional amendment that would make possession, consumption and recreational use of marijuana legal in Colorado continues to hover around the 50 percent mark, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The latest release from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows 47 percent of likely Colorado voters support Amendment 64, which would treat marijuana comparably to alcohol if passed, while 38 pecent are opposed — a mirror image to the results of PPP's survey a month ago.  Because of the somewhat confusing nature of the ballot language, PPP also asked Colorado voters if they simply favor or oppose the legalization of marijuana.  While 49 percent expressed support for legalization, 43 percent came out against.  

Amendment 64 will appear on the Colorado ballot this November.  

Romney campaign press secretary Andrea Saul on Tuesday was called out for the Republican ticket's repeated use of President Barack Obama's out-of-context "you didn't build that" line.

During Saul's appearance on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell highlighted the correct context of Obama's remarks — that the president was referring to infrastructure and not businesses — but the Romney spokeswoman refused to cede the point.

MITCHELL: When we talk about he didn't build it, we both know the context of that. All of the fact checkers, Andrea, show that that was -- he was talking about the bridges and the infrastructure that goes into building a small business. 

SAUL: Well, we know what he meant because he said it. He said if you have a small business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen. And it's not just that one sentence. He said time and again through his policies that he's hostile to job creators. He wants to raise taxes on small businesses. He's putting more burdensome regulation on all these job creators and it's just not a way to create jobs and make sure the economy can get going again.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is off the mark when he conflates President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the issue of gun control.

“I disagree with Mayor Bloomberg, and I thought that was unfair,” Schumer told the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe. “Because basically Barack Obama espouses the policies the mayor agrees with or supports. Whereas Romney has opposed.” 

Prompted by a raft of deadly summer shootings, Bloomberg has recently criticized the inaction of both parties on the red hot issue.

Virgil Goode Jr., the former Republican congressman now running for president on the Constitution Party ticket, has qualified for the ballot in his native Virginia, the State Board of Elections ruled Tuesday.

The state Republican Party has actively challenged the validity of the signatures gathered by Goode, who is seen by some as a potential spoiler to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the Commonwealth.  Pennsylvania Republicans had Goode removed from the state's ballot last month.

h/t The Washington Post

Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday acknolwedged that the economic climate remains trying for many Americans, but Republicans have not made a genuine effort to help the country mount a recovery.

"It's tough out there," Warren said during an interview on "CBS This Morning."  "Republicans are not helping us get back."

She continued, "It was a long fall and that means it's a lot to try and get it back."

The secretary general of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group backed by Iran, said on Monday that U.S. military bases in the Middle East could be the target of attacks if Israel strikes Iranian nuclear facilities, Reuters reports.

From Reuters:

"A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview with the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen television.

"The response will not be just inside the Israeli entity - American bases in the whole region could be Iranian targets."

"If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility."

A new tracking poll released Monday shows Mitt Romney receiving a marginal post-convention bump in support from Latino voters, even as President Barack Obama maintains his commanding advantage.

The latest survey from Latino Decisions — the second installment of what will be an 11-week tracking poll — shows Obama leading Romney with plenty of breathing room, 64 percent to 30 percent. While the president's level of support is down 1 point from the first tracking poll a week ago, Romney's share of the Latino vote is up 4 points from last week, when he polled at 26 percent.

The PollTracker Average shows Obama currently holding a massive edge among Latino voters, 60.9 percent to 30.8 percent, as Romney has struggled to make any dent in the president's lead throughout the campaign.

 

Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee, on Monday pushed back against the notion that the lack of a post-convention bump for Mitt Romney was evidence that the party had squandered an opportunity last week, arguing that the GOP nominee benefits from his personal popularity.

"When you look below the top line, you'll see the intensity we have among our voters is extremely high," Spicer told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts. "Governor's favorability rating, his likability rating is extremely high. Our convention gave us an opportunity for Governor Romney to speak directly to the american people about who he is, give them a great understanding about his vision and the solutions he has to turn this country around, so i think by every measure on our side we look at it as a tremendous success."

While Spicer was right about the enthusiasm among Republican voters, he embellished Romney's favorability rating, which has been an ongoing impediment to the former Massachusetts governor's candidacy.  An ABC News/Washington Post poll released last week showed Romney nursing the lowest favorability rating by a major party's presidential nominee dating back to Ronald Reagan's presidency.

Ever the hoops fan, President Barack Obama reportedly drew inspiration from the NBA to describe how he sees the 2012 presidential race.  In a piece published Sunday in the New York Times, a White House aide recounted a meeting earlier this year with the president and Democratic governors.  

From the Times:

This February, in an otherwise placid meeting with Democratic governors — routine policy questions, routine presidential replies — Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana asked Mr. Obama if he had what it took to win the 2012 race.

For a moment Mr. Obama looked annoyed, a White House aide said, as if he thought Mr. Schweitzer was underestimating him. Then he came alive. “Holy mackerel, he lit up,” Mr. Schweitzer said in an interview. “It was like a light switch coming on.”

Since then, Mr. Obama has been working at a furious pace, headlining three times as many fund-raisers as George W. Bush did during his 2004 re-election campaign, according to Mr. Knoller.

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