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

A majority of voters in arguably the three most crucial swing states prefer President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney to handle Medicare, according to new polls out Thursday.

According to the latest findings from The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, Obama claims a strong advantage over Romney on the issue among likely voters in Florida, Virginia and Ohio.  

By a margin of 53 percent to 41 percent, voters in Florida say Obama would do a better job handling the nation's health care system for senior citizens.  Obama boasts an 11-point edge over Romney on Medicare in Virginia, 53 percent to 41 percent.  

The president's largest advantage comes in Ohio, where 56 percent of voters say they prefer Obama to handle Medicare, compared with just 40 percent who prefer Romney.  

Nationally, the president is also seen as the better candidate for Medicare.  The PollTracker Average shows that Obama has expanded his advantage on the issue over the last month, coinciding with his growing leads overall in swing states and nationwide.


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Mitt Romney's campaign has sought to highlight the recent tension in the Middle East as an example of President Barack Obama's weakness on foreign policy, but a new poll released Wednesday suggests that Americans still have more confidence in the current commander-in-chief on that front.

The latest Bloomberg National Poll shows that likely voters believe Obama would be better-equipped than Romney to handle the often-tumultuous events in the Middle East, 49 percent to 38 percent.

But by a margin of 48 percent to 42 percent, voters believe Romney would be tougher on terrorism than Obama, who has held a consistent advantage on the issue since the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden.  

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With each recent poll, Ohio has begun to look less like a swing state and more like a road map back to the private sector for Mitt Romney.

A series of miscues on important Ohio issues and a successful effort by President Barack Obama's campaign to define the Republican challenger have made Romney's odds look increasingly long in the Rust Belt bellwether. Eight of the 12 public polls conducted after the Democratic National Convention have shown Romney with at least a 4-point deficit and one on Wednesday showed him down by 10. No Republican candidate has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Wednesday joined the chorus of Republicans pushing back against the slew of polls showing President Barack Obama expanding his lead in various swing states.

Asserting that the race is still "incredibly tight" in states such as Ohio, Walker told Fox's Neil Cavuto that the recent surveys may be undersampling Romney voters because Republicans are often reticent when approached by pollsters, pointing to exit polls that incorrectly suggested he would face a tight recall fight in June.  Walker ended up winning the recall election over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by a comfortable margin.

 "Particularly in the exit polls, and sometimes people who tend to be a little bit more right-of-center, conservative voters are reluctant to talk to the media, period," Walker said.  "And so they under-represent the sample."

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ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports:

The NFL and the NFL Referees Association made enough progress in negotiations Tuesday night that the possibility of the locked-out officials returning in time to work this week's games has been discussed, according to sources on both sides.

An agreement in principle is at hand, according to one source familiar to talks, although NFL owners have postured with a "no more compromise" stance.

Although league sources said it would take a week to get the locked-out officials on the field, the NFLRA says its 121 referees have been trained on the new rules implemented last season, have already passed physicals or are prepared to pass physicals immediately. New official game uniforms designed by Nike are "hardly an obstacle," according to a source.

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Sixty-one percent of registered voters nationwide say they have an unfavorable impression of the campaign being led by Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The latest poll from ABC News and the Washington Post shows that only 36 percent of voters have a favorable view of the Romney campaign.  Conversely, 53 percent of voters have a favorable impression President Barack Obama's campaign, compared with 45 percent who have an unfavorable view.

A majority of voters, 54 percent, also have a negative view of Romney's now-imfamous "47 percent" remark, which was secretly recorded at a high-dollar fundraiser earlier this year.  

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Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) leads Republican challenger Josh Mandel by 10 points in Ohio's closely watched U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll released Wednesday.  

The latest poll from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times shows Brown leading Mandel, the state treasurer, among likely voters, 50 percent to 40 percent.  That represents a  slight uptick in support for Brown since the previous Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll in August, when he led Mandel by 7 points.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Brown maintaining the lead he has held over Mandel the entire campaign, 49.5 percent to 41.4 percent. 


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The National Football League on Tuesday offered support for a referee's controversial decision at the end of Monday night's game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers.  In a statement, the league said the official's conclusion that there was no indisputable evidence to overturn the call on the field — a touchdown that gave Seattle the victory —was correct.

Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.

Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.

The result of the game is final.

The NFL did, however, acknowledge that Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate, who was awarded the questionable touchdown, got away with an offensive pass interference on the same place.  If the penalty been called, the game would have ended.  Monday's debacle was another frustrating episode for the NFL's much-maligned replacement referees, who are serving in place of the locked out officials.

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