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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

With the 2012 campaign approaching the home stretch, 20 percent of voters say they are paying virtually no attention to the election, according to a poll from CBS News released on Tuesday evening. 

The poll also shows that 45 percent of voters are paying "a lot" of attention to the campaign, while 34 percent say they are at least paying "some" attention.  Republicans are somewhat more engaged than their Democratic counterparts: 47 percent of registered Republicans say they are paying a lot of attention, compared with 42 percent of Democrats.  

Mitt Romney has struggled immensely to win over Latino voters throughout the campaign, something many observers have attributed to hard-line immigration policies embraced by the former Massachusetts governor and a Republican Party viewed by many as hostile to the Latino community.  But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) offered a different explanation during an interview on "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday.  

Rubio cited a campaign spending rule that precluded Romney from spending funds until he officially secured the party's nomination as the real reason for President Barack Obama's overwhelming advantage with Latino voters.

"Here's the problem we've had: It's a quirk in the campaign laws," Rubio said.  "[Romney] hasn't been allowed to spend the money. You can't spend it until he's formally nominated. He couldn't spend the money. Now he's going to be able to spend money both in English and Spanish to explain to people how his policies will help the economy, small businesses and have the confidence to invest in the future."

Rubio will introduce Romney at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night.  

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) received a huge ovation on Tuesday at the Republican National Convention, both when he spoke on behalf of his state's delegates in the afternoon and when he took the stage in the evening, but on Wednesday he made it clear that while the adoration is nice, he's motivated by advancing his policies. 

"It was nice," Walker told Fox News Channel's Gretchen Carlson.  "You don't do it for applause, but it doesn't hurt along the way. I think the nice thing is, it wasn't about me or my personality. It was really about the fact we did bold things. I think people appreciated that. It was about the policy."

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will take the stage tonight at the Republican National Convention and appear before an American audience that views him as "conservative," "intelligent," and "unknown," a new study released Wednesday from Pew Research Center shows.

Conducted August 23-26, Pew's study asked respondents ascribe one word that "best describes" their impression Ryan.  The two leading responses likely serve as a reflection of Ryan's status as a star on the right and his reputation as a budgetary expert: 26 respondents describe him as "conservative," and 25 call Ryan "intelligent."

Twenty-three apply the broad description of "good" to the House Budget Committee Chairman, but 22 also characterize Ryan as "unknown" — underscoring the pressure he faces tonight when he introduces himself to much of the public for the first time.

The Republican nomination officially his and the party's base seemingly coalescing behind him, Mitt Romney remains hamstrung by a historically low favorability rating, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday night shows.  

According to the poll, only 40 percent of registered voters nationwide have a favorable view of Romney — the lowest level of popularity for a major party's presidential nominee since the presidency of Ronald Reagan.  Fifty-one percent view Romney unfavorably, a problem the former Massachusetts governor has been unable to shake throughout the campaign.  It also marks only the second time last fall in ABC/WaPo's polling that a candidate has been viewed unfavorably by a majority of respondents.

Compounding matters for Romney: his incumbent opponent remains widely liked by the American public.  The poll shows that 50 percent of voters have a favorable view of President Barack Obama, compared with 47 percent who hold an unfavorable view.  

Romney's favorability rating was last above water in December, according to the PollTracker Average, which currently shows the GOP nominee viewed favorably by 41.5 percent and unfavorably by 45 percent.  

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu on Tuesday invoked the type of bondage-related language that placed Vice President Joe Biden in hot water recently when he stood at the podium of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to formally nominate Mitt Romney as the party's presidential candidate.

During his pitch, Sununu said a Romney administration would "unshackle" domestic energy resources previously left dormant.

"In these critical times, our nation still depends on others for our energy resources, even though we share the largest supply of energy in the world," Sununu said. "We have an administration now that shuns those assets and keeps us dependent on fragile foreign supplies. Mitt Romney will unshackle our assets and lead us to real energy independence."

After Biden was heavily criticized for suggesting earlier this month that a Romney presidency would put Americans "back in chains," the Obama campaign responded by arguing that Republicans frequently use the word "unshackle" to describe their intent to reverse the president's policies.  

 

 

         

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu has withdrawn from a planned summit upon learning that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also slated to participate.  

Citing Blair's involvement in the "morally indefensible" Iraq war, a spokesman for Tutu said it would be "inappropriate" for the Archbishop to take part in the event, scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on Saturday.

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) prepares for his close-up at the Republican National Convention, a new poll released Tuesday shows that a quarter of Americans have never heard of the potential 2016 presidential contender.

The latest installment from the USA Today/Gallup poll show that 34 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Christie, while 26 percent have an unfavorable view.  But despite Christie's star staus within GOP ranks — the poll shows 59 percent of Republicans view him favorably — 25 percent say they have never heard of him and another 14 percent have no opinion of him.  

Christie will deliver the convention's keynote address tonight. 

As Republicans continue their struggle to win over Latino voters, few party members have embodied the party's image problem with the burgeoning voting bloc more than Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Her state's controversial law, SB 1070, was criticized by many as a facilitator of racial profiling. During her 2010 campaign, Brewer sought to link crime with illegal immigration by alleging that law enforcement had found decapitated bodies in the Arizona desert, despite no such evidence for the claim.

But on Tuesday, Brewer chalked up the GOP's low standing among Latino voters to pandering on the part of President Barack Obama. Appearing on "POLITICO LIVE" at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Brewer said Obama has ignored border security in favor of winning more Latino votes.

"He panders to them," Brewer said. "Look what he's done: he hasn't secured the borders."

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