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

Ann Romney offered her first response on Friday morning to Clint Eastwood's eyebrow-raising speech at the Republican National Convention, calling the iconic actor's Thursday night address "unique."

"Well, you know, again, we appreciated Clint's support and he's a unique guy and he did a unique thing last night," Romney said during an interview on "CBS This Morning."


Watch highlights from Eastwood's speech:


Read More →

President Barack Obama will depart for Fort Bliss, Texas this morning to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, according to a White House press schedule.

Obama will conduct a roundtable discussion with service members and their families at the Army installation and will speak to troops later in the day.  

Reached by Politico for a response to Clint Eastwood's bizarre, offbeat speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt declined to delve into specifics, but instead deferred to a late Spanish painter known for his surrealist work.  

"Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dali," LaBolt told Politico via email.  

Watch highlights from Eastwood's speech:



Read More →

President Barack Obama holds a small lead over Mitt Romney in Michigan, according to a new snap poll released Thursday.

The latest automated survey from in-state pollster EPIC-MRA — conducted on August 28 — shows Obama nursing a 3-point advantage over Romney among likely Michigan voters, 49 percent to 46 percent.  Obama held a 6-point lead in Michigan in the previous EPIC-MRA poll conducted a month ago.  

Romney claims a strong edge among independent voters in Thursday's poll, leading Obama by 13 points.  Women voters in Michigan, on the other hand, prefer the president over his Republican challenger, 51 percent to 44 percent.

The PollTracker Average of Michigan, which currently shows Obama up by less than 2 points, depicts how the presidential race in the state has grown increasingly competitive over the summer. 


Read More →

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:



Read More →

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.

Read More →

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."

Read More →

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.


Read More →

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.

Read More →