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

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday was asked for his take on why Latino voters overwhelmingly support Democrats, including President Barack Obama.  The junior senator from Florida told Fox News Channel's Bret Baier that the trend was at least partly due to where Latino voters live — and the influence of the local politics that permeates their communities.

"Well, look, some of it is historic in nature," Rubio said during the pre-taped interview that aired on Thursday evening. "These are communities and towns and states, California comes to mind and so does New York, that happen to be bastions of the Democratic politics. And so, people move there and it's logical thatl they turn into Democrats or vote in that direction. But that's going to change." 

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Thursday accused MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews of losing control of his emotions during a contentious on-air exchange between the two earlier this week.

"My reaction as it was happening is that 'OK, Chris Matthews is just trying to make a scene for his brand and his own show,' " Priebus said during an interview on America's Radio News. "I mean, everyone watching that saw a guy that was unhinged, and he was acting bizarre. Why would I put all the focus on me during the week of the convention and jump in the ditch with someone who was hysterical?"

h/t The Hill

Watch a portion of the exchange:



Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday responded to Mike Huckabee, who referred to her as an "awful noise" during his Wednesday night speech at the Republican National Convention.

During an appearance on CNN, Wasserman Schultz said she was hardly surprised by the jab, arguing that the former Arkansas governor and current Fox News commentator is "unfamiliar with the voice of a strong woman."

As evidence, she pointed to Huckabee's unrelenting support of Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who has lost the backing of many female voters (and Republicans) following his "legitimate rape" remark.  

It's to be expected from a guy who actually, when many were condemning Todd Akin's outrageous, unacceptable comments about something called "legitimate rape" and women's inability, supposedly, to become pregnant from it, Mike Huckabee, showing how dramatically out of touch and unreal he is when it comes to the health care of women, actually embraced Todd Akin, did a fundraising pitch for him through e-mail, and rallied the troops on a conference call for him. So, really, consider the source.

When asked by CNN's Brooke Baldwin how she would respond to Huckabee if he were present, Wasserman Schultz was icy.

"I would ignore him, because he's irrelevant," she said.

Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for the Obama campaign, didn't mince words on Thursday when asked about vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's factually dubious speech at the Republican National Convention.  

Cutter told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that many of Ryan's claims — including the oft-invoked attack on the president for the closure of a Wisconsin auto plant that was actually shuttered when former President George W. Bush was still in office — were more than merely misleading.

"Well, you know, Andrea, there's no delicate way to put this, but he lied," Cutter said. "He blatantly lied and brazenly. A number of different things have been fact checked by members of the media, independent fact checkers." 

Cutter continued her pointed criticism later in the interview.

"Facts are powerful things. We didn't hear many of them last night," Cutter said. "And one thing that we didn't hear is one idea, one tangible idea of how to move the country forward. Paul Ryan was picked as Mitt Romney's running mate because of his intellectual leadership. He was an intellectual leader of the Republican Party. You couldn't prove that to anybody last night watching that speech."

Despite the public flogging of Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), Mitt Romney remains in a strong position to carry Missouri in November, a new poll released Thursday shows.

The latest release from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows Romney leading President Barack Obama by 12 points among likely voters in the Show Me State, 53 percent to 41 percent — an indication that the embattled Akin may not be much of a drag on the Republican presidential ticket there.  Thursday's poll also showed McCaskill, who was the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent Senator up for election prior to Akin's "legitimate rape" remark, clinging to a slim lead in her race, 45 percent to 44 percent.  

The PollTracker Average, which also shows Romney leading in Missouri by 12 points, illustrates the brief tightening of the presidential race that occurred after Akin found himself in hot water, but the Republican nominee has since re-asserted himself as the prohibitive favorite to win the state's 10 electoral votes.


Acknolwedging the changing demographics in the United States and a culture within the Republican Party that has often been hostile to Latino voters, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told Fox News on Thursday that Mitt Romney can improve his weak standing among the growing voting bloc by emphasizing national security, energy policy and health care.  But notably absent in Bush's pitch to Latino voters was the party's approach to immigration reform.

I think [Romney] can say help is on the way, that we tried it one way and it hasn't worked. Now let's go back to the traditional approach of creating through limited government more opportunity for people and focus on sustained, high growth as a means by which we lift people's spirits because jobs will be available. That means reindustrializing the country. That means an energy policy that is based on our own innovations and resources. That means a total review of all of these mind boggling rules and compliance costs that make it hard for jobs to be created. That means repealing Obamacare and moving to a market-oriented healthcare access insurance plan. It means tax reform. It means entitlement reforms. These are messages that resonate with hispanic voters just as much as they resonate with everybody else.


Bush will speak at the Republican National Convention tonight.


Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, was taken to task on Thursday morning during an appearance on CNN for misleading remarks made by vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention.

As he has several times during the campaign, Ryan insinuated on Wednesday night that President Barack Obama failed to save a Wisconsin auto factory from closing.  In reality, the factory was shuttered in 2008, when former President George W. Bush was still in office.  But Fehrnstrom denied that the campaign was suggesting that the closure occurred under Obama, offering a confusing and vague explanation for the attack that has become a hallmark of Ryan's stump speech.

ANCHOR: You know, Eric, that the decision to close that plant was made in June of 2008, when President Bush was in office. What Paul Ryan said there was clearly misleading. 

FEHRNSTROM: Well, no. He didn't talk about Obama closing the plant. He said that candidate Obama went there in 2008, and what he said was with government assistance, we can keep this plant open for another 100 years. Here we are four years into his administration. That plant is still closed. I think it's a symbol of a recovery that hasn't materialized for the people of Janesville, Wisconsin, just as it hasn't materialized for Americans everywhere. 

ANCHOR: He left the impression that President Obama shut that plant down. 

FEHRNSTROM: Well, I would encourage people to go back and look at what candidate Obama said in 2008. What he said was with his recovery program, with government assistance, we can keep that plant open for 100 years. Four years later, it's still shuttered. I think it's a symbol of a broken economy under this president.


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday criticized the prospect of a drawdown of United States troops in Afghanistan, suggesting that the Taliban is lurking in the weeds.

"The Taliban prisoner says, 'You've got the the watches, we've got the time,'" McCain told the "Morning Joe" panel on MSNBC.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) evening was asked by MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday if he would have rather seen the U.S. automotive industry enter bankruptcy, as Mitt Romney advocated in 2009, or if he was pleased with the restructuring plan put forth by the Obama administration.

Automakers figure prominently in the Buckeye State's economy, and the approach executed by the current administration has been widely credited with salvaging what was a depleted industry at the time.  But Kasich largely took a pass on the question.

"Well, my view on that, Chris, is I'm glad it survived," Kasich told Matthews.  "The auto industry survived and I'm thrilled we have a more solid base in auto and, you know, I'm going to have to leave it right there."

President Barack Obama on Wednesday made his familiar case for raising taxes on the highest income earners during a campaign rally in Charlottesville, Va., arguing that he and — especially — his opponent, Mitt Romney, don't need to pay less.

"In just over two months, you can make a decision about which path we take," Obama told the crowd at the University of Virginia.  "You can give a tax cut to me or Mr. Romney, who don't need it. He needs it even less than I do."