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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

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) offered a frank asssessment of what he believes cost the Republican Party at the ballot box this year in an interview with Politico that ran Tuesday, suggesting that the GOP has come to be seen as too cozy with the wealthiest segment of the country.

“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal said. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

Ostensibly referring to the likes of Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and Richard Mourdock, Jindal also noted that some Republican candidates inflicted harm on the party's image this year.

“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”


 

In an interview with WISN 12 News in Milwaukee on Monday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted that he and Mitt Romney were indeed caught off guard by the results of last week's election, claiming that the campaign's internal polling all pointed to a triumph for the Republican ticket.

"The polling we had. The numbers we were looking at looked like we stood a pretty good chance of winning," Ryan said. "So, when the numbers came in, going the other direction. When we saw the turnout that was occurring in urban areas which were really fairly unprecedented, it did come as a bit of a shock. So, those are the toughest losses to have -- the ones that catch you by surprise."

In Gallup's final pre-election poll earlier this week, President Barack Obama led among women voters by 12 points while Mitt Romney held an 8-point edge among men.

That, according to the national research organization, created the largest gender gap "since it began compiling the vote by major subgroups in 1952." The chart below, courtesy of Gallup, illustrates how the gender gap in this year's campaign stacks up historically.

According to Gallup, Obama's smaller margin of victory in 2012 was attributed to Romney performing more strongly among male voters than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) did four years ago.

More from Gallup:

Notably, Obama's 12-percentage-point advantage among women is slightly less than the 14-point advantage he had over John McCain in 2008, while Romney improved on McCain's performance among men by eight points. Thus, the narrowing of Obama's winning margin between the two elections, from seven points to two points, can be ascribed mainly to men's shifting more Republican.

 

Vice President Joe Biden has thus far done little to suppress speculation that he could launch his own run to the White House at the end of President Obama's second term. On Thursday, he offered a clue on what might ultimately determine his decision: the health of the nation's economy in 2016.

“There’s plenty of time to think about 2016,” Biden said, quoted by the Wilmington News Journal. “We’ve got to get this economy working. If three years from now the economy is not working, it’s not going to be worth doing much. This is all about making Barack an incredibly successful second-term president. That’s my focus.”

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) will reportedly make a decision soon on whether or not to challenge Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) in next year's gubernatorial election. 

According to a report in The Newark Star-Ledger on Thursday, Booker will finalize his plans by next month after he meets with prospective fundraisers on the West Coast to evaluate their level of support.

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice on Friday echoed the sentiments of many of her fellow Republicans who believe the party fell well short in winning support of some key, growing constituencies. Namely, she said, the GOP sent "mixed messages" on issues related to immigration and women.

"On the immigration issue, which turned out to be very important, and some issues about women too, some mixed messages were sent," Rice said during an appearance on CBS This Morning. "And when you send mixed messages through the narrow funnel that is the media spotlight sometimes people hear only one side of that message."

Watch:

 

Reuters reports:

President Vladimir Putin dismissed the chief of staff of Russia's armed forces on Friday in a reshuffle of the military top brass, three days after sacking his defence minister following a corruption scandal.

Putin removed General Nikolai Makarov as his top general and replaced him with General Valery Gerasimov, the commander of Russia's forces in the central military district who has served in the turbulent Chechnya region.

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