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

Professional wrestling mogul and Republican nominee Linda McMahon leads Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in Connecticut's tight U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The latest survey from Quinnipiac University shows McMahon leading Murphy among likely Connecticut voters, 49 percent to 46 percent.  

The PollTracker Average currently mirrors the findings of the Quinnipiac poll, with McMahon leading Murphy by 3 points. 

As Republicans and Democrats descend on Florida and North Carolina over the next two weeks for their respective conventions, a new poll released Monday shows a tight presidential race in both battlegrounds.

In a new CNN/Time poll, available exclusively on the CNN/Time Convention Floor Pass app, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden top Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) among likely voters in Florida, 50 percent to 46 percent. Obama and Biden have a 12-point lead among Florida women and a 41-point advantage among "non-white" voters in the Sunshine State.

Romney and Ryan, meanwhile, lead by 4 points among men and hold an 18-point advantage among white voters. Among voters 65 years and older -- a bloc drawing increased attention, particularly in Florida, due to the campaign's recent focus on Medicare -- the GOP ticket leads by 6 points, 51 percent to 45 percent.

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The United States Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce on Monday announced that it will endorse President Barack Obama in this year's election. 

Thomas L. Leto III, president and founder of the group, said Obama understands the economic potential of medical cannabis.  Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Leto argued, "just doesn't get it."  

Legalization advocates may be chagrined by the endorsement.  The Obama administration has disappointed many drug reform proponents by the ramp up in federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries during the president's first term even in states where they are legal.   

(h/t Politicker)

The United States military on Monday announced that it will be taking disciplinary action against the troops responsible for burning copies of the Koran and urinating on corpses earlier this year in Afhganistan, Reuters reports

The incidents set off an international firestorm and prompted a sharp rebuke from Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  

From Reuters:

The military said the punishments were administrative, which could include actions such as a reprimand, reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay. Neither incident so far has resulted in criminal charges, however, something that may fail to satisfy Afghan demands for justice.


With the pound of his gavel, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus opened his party's convention in Tampa, Fla. on Monday. The convention will promptly adjourn until Tuesday due to Tropical Strom Isaac. Priebus kicked things off in Tampa by unveiling two debt clocks on display at the Tampa Bay Times Forum: one that depicts the nation's total debt and one that shows the debt accumulated since the start of the convention.

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are tied in North Carolina, according to a new poll out Monday.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf of High Point University, shows Obama and Romney each earning the support of 43 percent of registered voters in the Tar Heel State.  

A CNN/Time poll also released Monday showed the Republican ticket of Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) holding a slim 1-point advantage over Obama and Vice President Joe Biden among likely voters in North Carolina.

The PollTracker Average currently shows North Carolina as a toss-up, with Romney barely leading Obama, 47 percent to 45.8 percent.

In an interview published Monday in USA Today, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney defended his campaign's newfound attacks on President Barack Obama for allegedly gutting welfare by waiving the program's work requirement.  The ads have been widely panned for their inaccuracy, but Romney stands by them, telling USA Today that he believes the president waived the work requirement to "shore up his base."

The following is the extended quote, provided to The Huffington Post:

"There's no question in my mind that the president's action was calculated to... shore up his base.  Weakening the work requirement in welfare is an enormous mistake."

Romney also said that the joke he told at a Michigan rally on Friday, in which he seemed to make a thinly veiled reference to Obama's birth certificate, was a "human" and "spontaneous" moment.

"2016: Obama's America," the documentary that takes a conspirtorial view of a potential second term for the president, grossed $6.2 million for the weekend beginning August 24 and ending August 26.

The total puts the film, made by conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza, in the top ten of the nationwide box office.  

Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hold a slim lead over the Democratic incumbents in Michigan, according to a new survey from an in-state pollster released Sunday.  

The latest automated poll from East Lansing, Mich.-based Mitchell Research shows the Republican ticket leading President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe biden among likely voters in Michigan, 46 percent to 45 percent.  Interestingly, when the pollster offered respondents simply a choice between the two candidates at the top of each ticket, Obama and Romney were tied at 47 percent a piece.

Polls in the Great Lakes State have been all over the place this summer, but the findings from Mitchell Research have consistently shown a very tight race there between Obama and Romney.  The PollTracker Average currently shows Michigan in the toss-up column, with Obama barely leading, 46.4 percent to 44.6 percent.  

Registered voters nationwide narrowly trust Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama to handle Medicare, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday.

It isn't a massive advantage, but 45 percent prefer Romney to preside over the national health care system for senior citizens, compared with 42 percent who trust Obama more on the issue.

Medicare was supposed to be a problematic front for Romney following the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate earlier this month.  Ryan's much-ballyhooed federal budget proposal included a plan to ultimately change Medicare into a voucher program, something that has consistently proven to be unpopular.

From ABC/WaPo:

Overall, though, two-thirds of registered voters say Ryan’s selection will make no difference in their vote, while the rest divide essentially evenly on whether it makes them more or less likely to back the GOP ticket. And there is a risk: Registered voters by a broad 62-33 percent oppose Ryan’s proposal to restructure Medicare. To date that does not look to have impacted trust to handle the issue, about an even division between Obama and Romney. That’s in fact a plus for Romney, given the traditional Democratic advantage on Medicare. The question is how it plays out in the campaign ahead.

A poll commissioned by CNN and released Sunday night showed Obama and Romney running even on the question of who would be best to handle Medicare.