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

While Mitt Romney continues to suffer the fallout from a video that shows him dismissing President Barack Obama's voters, or 47 percent of Americans, as invididuals who do not pay income taxes and depend on government entitlements, new research from Gallup released Tuesday shows that the Republican nominee claims the support from more of those individuals than his remarks seem to suggest.

According to Gallup's polling from the tracking period of Aug. 27-Sept. 16, 34 percent of voters whose household incomes are less than $24,000 a year support Romney.  Obama easily wins among those voters, earning the support of 58 percent.  

As Gallup points out, a significant portion of the individuals who pay no income tax are the same voters in the lowest income bracket, roughly a third of whom intend to vote for Romney, not Obama.

As Republicans assail President Barack Obama for supposedly exacerbating an already-weak economy and Mitt Romney claims that his business experience makes him well-suited to lead a recovery, a new poll released Tuesday shows that neither contention is really resonating with voters.

The poll, conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) on behalf of Daily Kos and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), shows  that 38 percent of voters say Romney's experience at Bain Capital make them less likely to support the Republican nominee, compared with just 21 percent who say that his career at the private equity firm make them more likely to support him.  Thirty-nine percent say it makes no difference.

The poll also shows that 51 percent of likely voters nationwide believe the economy would not be in better shape under Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), while 38 percent believe it would be in better shape.  



President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 5 in Michigan, according to a new survey released Tuesday from an in-state pollster.  

The poll, conducted by Lansing, Mich.-based Marketing Resource Group, shows Obama leading Romney among likely voters, 47.5 percent to 42.3 percent.  

Obama has long been the favorite in Michigan — despite Romney's personal connection to the state — due in large part to his administration's successful restructuring of the U.S. automakers.  The poll shows that 61 percent of Michigan voters say they supported the federal government's rescue of the auto companies, compared with just 32 percent who say they were opposed.

Obama's approval and favorability ratings are also in positive territory.  Fifty percent approve of the job the president is doing, while 46 percent disapprove.  Additionally, 52 percent have a favorable view of Obama, compared with 44 percent who have an unfavorable view.  Marketing Resource Group did not test Romney's favorability rating in the poll.

The PollTracker Average shows Michigan favoring Obama, who currently leads Romney there by 5.7 points.


The momentum behind Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren appears to be real, with another poll out Monday night showing her with a lead over Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA).  

A new poll from Suffolk University, conducted on behalf of Boston-based NBC affiliate WHDH, shows Warren leading Brown by 4 points among likely Bay State voters, 48 percent to 44 percent.

It's the latest piece of evidence that Warren has gained traction in the weeks following the Democratic National Convention after falling behind in August. Two other polls conducted after the convention, by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) and by Western New England College, showed Warren holding leads of 2 points and 6 points respectively.

Warren's lead in the Suffolk poll comes despite Brown boasting a higher favorability rating, although the Democratic nominee is also in positive territory. The poll shows 60 percent of voteres have a favorable view of Brown, compared with 29 percent who view him unfavorably. Warren, meanwhile, is viewed favorably by 52 percent of voters surveyed, compared with 33 percent who view the consumer watchdog unfavorably.

The PollTracker Average curently shows Warren leading by 2.5 points, 48.2 percent to 45.7 percent.


The gang at "Fox & Friends" thought it had landed an interview with a young, disillusioned, out-of-work former Obama supporter who had shifted his allegiance to Mitt Romney. Instead, the hosts found themselves on the receiving end of a practical joke.

Seeking to highlight the unemployment rate among 18- to 24-year-olds, "Fox & Friends" on Monday brought on Max Rice, who, co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed, is an unemployed college graduate who recently moved out of his parents' home. But from the start, it was obvious that Rice was not much concerned with his alleged employment situation.

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Romney campaign adviser Bay Buchanan on Monday pushed back against a column written by RedState.com's Erick Erickson, who argued that the Republican nominee is losing and that President Barack Obama would secure a second term if the election were held today.  

Appearing on MSNBC, Buchanan pointed to Erickson's long-held reservations toward Romney, while also acknowledging that the former Massachusetts governor has been unable to win over some of the most ardent conservatives — a problem that dates back to the Republican nomination contest.   

"You know, you have to remember, Erick Erickson has never been with us," Buchanan told MSNBC's Chuck Todd.  "There's many people, as conservatives, they didn't like us in the primaries, and we do what you can, you send the message that we think is right.  This is Governor Romney's campaign and he is running it and it is his message."


Update: Erickson fired back at Buchanan with a tweet shortly after her appearance.


In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody that will air in full on Friday, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said that specifics associated with the Republican ticket's tax plan will emerge when he and Mitt Romney work with Congress to iron out a deal.

David Brody: “There are some conservatives that have spoken out saying they want to see some more specifics from the Romney/Ryan team and one thing that comes up, at least from the liberals is tax loopholes. Is there a reason you guys aren’t naming specific tax loopholes?”

Paul Ryan: “Yes because we want to get it done. Look, I’ve been on the Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. I’m very familiar with how to make successful tax reforms take place. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil did it in 1986 but we haven’t done it since 1986 for lots of reasons which is we don’t want to presume to say ‘here’s exactly our way or the highway take it or leave it Congress.’ We want to say this is our vision, lower tax rates across the board for families and small businesses and work on the loopholes that are enjoyed by the higher income earners, take away their tax shelters so more of their income is subject to taxation. That lowers everybody’s tax rates. And we have to be able to work with Congress on those details, on how to fill it in and more to the point we don’t want to cut some backroom deal that they did with Obamacare where we hatched some plan behind the scenes and they spring it on the country. We want to do this in front, in the public, through congressional hearings with Congress so that we can get to the best conclusion with a public participation. That’s the process that works the best to ultimate success gets this done. That’s why we’re doing it this way.”

Erick Erickson, editor of the conservative blog RedState.com and a CNN contributor, concedes in a column published Monday that Mitt Romney is losing and that President Barack Obama would win a second term if the election were held today.  In the column, Erickson counters conservatives who have quibbled with the slew of recent polls that have shown Obama out in front.  

Contra Dick Morris, Mitt Romney is not winning this election. At least Mitt Romney is not winning the election right now. Conservatives are obsessing over every poll, the turn out models used, and the media bias that is on ful display. Yes, some of the polling models seem screwy, though we all forget the pollsters apply a secret sauce known only to them on top. Yes, reporters are fully beclowning themselves to get their god-king re-elected. But while we may be focused there, the fact is the Romney campaign isn’t functioning well. Lucky for you and me the election is not today. But something needs to happen in Boston and I am less and less hopeful anything will happen.