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

Ever the hoops fan, President Barack Obama reportedly drew inspiration from the NBA to describe how he sees the 2012 presidential race.  In a piece published Sunday in the New York Times, a White House aide recounted a meeting earlier this year with the president and Democratic governors.  

From the Times:

This February, in an otherwise placid meeting with Democratic governors — routine policy questions, routine presidential replies — Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana asked Mr. Obama if he had what it took to win the 2012 race.

For a moment Mr. Obama looked annoyed, a White House aide said, as if he thought Mr. Schweitzer was underestimating him. Then he came alive. “Holy mackerel, he lit up,” Mr. Schweitzer said in an interview. “It was like a light switch coming on.”

Since then, Mr. Obama has been working at a furious pace, headlining three times as many fund-raisers as George W. Bush did during his 2004 re-election campaign, according to Mr. Knoller.

The public's reaction to last week's Republican National Convention was lukewarm at best, while Mitt Romney's Thursday night speech received even less favorable reviews, new research released Monday by Gallup shows.

According to Gallup, a roughly equal percentage of American adults say that the GOP convention made them less likely (38 percent) to vote for Romney as those who say it made them more likely (40 percent) to support the Republican ticket.  Twenty-two percent of adults reacted indifferently to the convention.  The split is comparable among independents, 36 percent of whom say they are more likely to vote for Romney in the wake of his party's convention, compared with 33 percent who say they are less likely.  

Romney's acceptance address received a weak grade relative to previous convention speeches.  Only 38 percent of adults rated the Republican nominee's speech either good or excellent — the lowest rating given to such an address dating back to Bob Dole's speech at the 1996 Republican National Convention, when Gallup first started testing presidential acceptance speeches.  

For a point of reference, the 2008 presidential candidates earned much better reviews for their own convention speeches.  Forty-seven percent rated Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) acceptance address four years ago either good or excellent, while 58 percent gave  the same assessment of President Barack Obama's speech a the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Mitt Romney holds a 4-point lead over President Barack Obama in North Carolina, according to a new poll released Monday.

The latest survey from Elon University, commissioned by the Charlotte News Observer and the News & Observer of Raleigh, shows Romney leading Obama among likely Tar Heel State voters, 47 percent to 43 percent.  While Romney's advantage isn't huge, it's a divergence from a different survey conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) and released late Sunday night, which showed a dead heat between Obama and Romney in North Carolina.

Obama made history four years when he became the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to carry North Carolina, which has emerged as a crucial battleground in 2012 as well.  Democrats signaled their intentions to keep North Carolina "blue" with the decision to host the party's convention in Charolotte.  The PollTracker Average currently shows the presidential race in the state to be a toss-up, with Romney barely edging Obama, 47.1 percent to 45.7 percent.  Elon conducted its poll August 25-30 using live telephone interviews with 1,030 likely voters.  The poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.


Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Monday said President Barack Obama is out of step with most of the American public, unlike the last Democrat to control the White House.

"The problem that Obama has with Bill Clinton is that Obama is not your daddy's Democrat," Priebus told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.  "He's not a mainstream Democrat like Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton worked with both sides of the aisle. He was able to get things done. [Former President George W.] Bush worked with both sides of the aisle."

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Monday said the evidence simply doesn't support the notion that the United States is in better shape than it was four years ago.

Appearing on CNN's "Starting Point," Priebus was asked by Soledad O'Brien if he thought it was a fair point to suggest that the U.S. has indeed made strides from years ago, when the economy was bleeding jobs and the major financial institutions were frozen.

"The problem with that answer is the facts don't bear it out and that's why people like David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs couldn't answer the questions yesterday on the Sunday morning shows because the facts are fewer people are employed today," Priebus said.  "The debt is more out of control than it ever was in the history of this country. The president didn't cut the deficit in half like he promised."

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Monday walked back a remark that was quickly pounced on by Republicans.  

During an appearance on "Face the Nation" on Sunday, O'Malley said "no" to the question of whether the United States is better off than it was four years ago.

"No, but that's not the question of the elction," O'Malley told CBS' Bob Schieifer.

On Monday, O'Malley offered a different response, one that will likely please Democrats and President Barack Obama's campaign.  

"Here's the reality ofur situation as a country," O'Malley told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.  "We are clearly better off as a country because we're creating jobs rather than losing them."

Pressed by O'Brien, the potential 2016 presidential contender elaborated.

"We have not recovered all that we lost in the Bush recession. That's why we need to continue to move forward. Is there anybody on this panel that thinks we've recovered all we lost in the Bush recession? I don't think anybody can say that. But clearly we're moving forward and creating jobs. Unemployment is down and job creation is up. And those positive movements would not happen without the president's leadership."

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Friday responded to Clint Eastwood's baffling speech at the GOP convention, saying the the actor and filmmaker's address was not a distraction.

Following a campaign rally in Richmond, Va., Ryan told a local television station, “I think Clint Eastwood was just being Clint Eastwood ... One of the most profound things that Clint said was that 23 million people are out of work, struggling to find jobs. It’s unacceptable."

h/t Politico

In an exclusive interview with Parade set to hit newstands on Sunday, President Barack Obama suggested that it may be easier to achieve a consensus with Congressional Republicans in a second term if they espoused the views of the people who vote them into office.

Republican voters, if you ask them about my particular policy positions, often agree with me. So there’s a difference between Republicans in Washington and Republican and Republican-leaning voters around the country. I think that after this election, we’ll be in a position to once again reach out to Republicans and say that the American people have rendered a judgment, and the positions we’re taking are well within what used to be considered bipartisan centrist approaches.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is also serving as chair of next week's Democratic National Convention, said on Friday that his party's confab will have more substance and less glitz than this week's Republican National Convention.

"You won't see all of the Madison Avenue ad executives as you saw the last convention, kind of made Governor Romney warmer and fuzzier," Villaraigosa told MSNBC's Chuck Todd. "What you will see is a lot more beef."