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

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.


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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.


The post-convention bounce given to President Barack Obama appears to have extended to one of the event's other stars, as a pair of polls released on Sunday show Massachusetts senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren grabbing the lead from Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

Warren leads Brown by 2 points among likely voters in the latest release from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP), 48 percent to 46 percent, reversing a 5-point advantage the Republican incumbent held in PPP's previous survey a month ago.  The Democratic challenger and consumer watchdog opens up an even larger edge in a new poll from Western New England College, leading Brown by 6 points among likely voters, 50 percent to 44 percent.  

Each poll was conducted after the Democratic National Convention, where Warren delivered a marquee speech on the penultimate night.  The PollTracker Average, which currently shows Brown trailing by less than 2 points, illustrates Warren's rise since the beginning of the month. 



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Supporters of Amendment 64 — the proposed change to Colorado's constitution that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 years and older in the state — were dealt more good news on Saturday, with a new poll showing a majority of voters in favor of the measure. 

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA and commissioned by the Denver Post, shows 51 percent of likely Colorado voters support Amendment 64, compared with 40 percent who oppose the measure.  Eight percent are undecided. 

Polls have consistently pegged Amendment 64 as a favorite to pass in November, including a survey last week from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) that showed the measure winning by 9 points.  The PollTracker Average currently shows 49.7 percent support Amendment 64, while 39.3 percent oppose.  

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper's public opposition to Amendment 64 will have on the campaign.  Hickenlooper, an extremely popular figure in the state, weighed in on the legalization effort earlier this week, saying in a statement, "Colorado is known for many great things — marijuana should not be one of them."  

Meanwhile, opponents to the measure moved quickly to quash any momentum provided to the pro-amendment contingent from Saturday's poll.  In a statement provided to TPM, Roger Sherman, director of the "No On 64" campaign, acknolwedged the challenges facing his side while maintaining confidence that voters will ultimately reject the amendment.

"We always knew it would be an uphill battle to fully inform Coloradans about this dangerous, deceptive amendment to our state constitution," Sherman wrote. "But we believe voters are smart enough to understand why Amendment 64 is wrong for Colorado and will vote No.”


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Sailors in the U.S. Navy ceremonial guard stand over the cremains of Neil Armstrong during a burial at sea ceremony aboard the USS Philippine Sea on Friday.  Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died at the age of 82 on August 25.


(Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls)


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Sari Horowitz of The Washington Post reports:

The team of FBI agents assigned to investigate the deaths of four Americans in Libya has not been able to get into the country because of the volatile situation there, according to law enforcement officials.

U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died Tuesday night when militants overran the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi. The inability of FBI investigators to get to the scene and secure vital forensic evidence and interview witnesses means that the task of identifying and prosecuting the assailants will be much harder, according to former and current FBI agents.

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The U.S. Department of State has installed a 24-hour monitoring team in the wake of intensifying attacks on American embassies throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy reports.  

Rogin quotes a senior State Department official:

"The State Department has stood up a 24-hr monitoring team to insure appropriate coordination of information and our response. In addition, our consular team is working with missions around the world to protect American citizens and issue appropriate public warden information.

"We have been monitoring events in the Middle East and North Africa intensively today, and working with our personnel and missions overseas and host governments to strengthen security in all locations and to respond effectively where protests have turned violent."

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President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are locked in a statistical dead heat in Colorado, according to a new poll released Friday afternoon. 

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA and commissioned by the Denver Post, shows Obama holding negligible 1-point lead over Romney among likely voters in Colorado, 47 percent to 46 percent — well within the poll's margin of error of four percentage points.  Obama's lead 1-point edge remains unchanged when former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who is running on the Libertarian ticket, is added to the equation.  

A survey from a pair of Democratic-leaning pollsters on Thursday showed Obama holding a 5-point lead over Romney in Colorado.  The PollTracker Average currently shows Colorado narrowly leaning toward Obama, who leads Romney there, 48.4 percent to 45.6 percent.


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