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


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.


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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."

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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."


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Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Massachusetts, offered a rebuttal to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address at the Republican National Convention in an editorial published Wednesday on Daily Kos.

Last night, Chris Christie and the Republicans told the American people that we're to blame for our broken economy. He told families to tighten their belts. He told seniors to live on less. He told teachers to stop fighting for fair pay.

He never, ever mentioned how much more the richest have taken, and he had no mention that those who broke our economy still haven't been held accountable.

The Republicans believe in an America that is rigged for the big guys - giant corporations that can hire an army of lobbyists, ship jobs overseas, and take their profits to the Cayman Islands.


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Although he claims the support of half of likely voters in the state, President Barack Obama holds a mere 3-point edge in Nevada over Mitt Romney, according to a new poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) released Wednesday.  

The survey shows Obama leading Romney in a head-to-head matchup, 50 percent to 47 percent.  It's the latest drop in the Silver State for Obama, who has seen a steady decline in support throughout PPP's research there during the 2012 cycle.  The president held a 6-point lead over Romney in PPP's June survey of Nevada and an 8-point advantage in March.  Obama's lead in Wednesday's poll is also a far cry from his nearly 13-point margin of victory over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) four years ago in Nevada.

“We consistently find Barack Obama leading in our Nevada polling but it’s by a much smaller margin than 2008,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP in the poll's corresponding release. “It’s one of the states where he’s fallen the furthest.”

The PollTracker Average currently shows Nevada leaning toward Obama, who leads Romney, 49.1 percent to 46.6 percent. 

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Ahmed Shafik, the former Egyptian prime minister and presidential candidate, will be detained by authorities over allegations of corruption if he returns home, Reuters reports.

Shafik, who was the last prime minister under fallen Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, lost in a run-off election to current President Mohamed Morsi earlier this summer.

Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama, on Wednesday said the speech at the Republican National Convention by apostate Democrat Artur Davis was nothing more than an expedient play.  

"Well, I think last night's speech by Artur Davis was more about Artur Davis than about President Obama or about this country," Cutter told MSNBC's Chuck Todd.  "He clearly has some future political ambitions and he has calculated this to give him a better shot at being re-elected. So I'll just leave it at that."

Davis bolted the Democratic Party earlier this year.  His speech at the RNC last night was four years removed from his appearance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, when he nominated Obama.  

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As both major parties take center stage at their respective conventions over the next two weeks, a new poll released Wednesday shows that the public's impression of Republicans is comparable to where it stood before their 2008 convention, while Democrats have seen a decline in popularity over the last four years.

According to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, 44 percent of registered voters nationwide have a favorable view of the Republican Party, compared with 50 percent who have an unfavorable view — virtually identical to the GOP's favorability level in August 2008, when 41 percent viewed the party favorably and 51 percent viewed it unfavorably.  

The poll shows that 43 percent of voters currently have a favorable view of the Democratic Party, while 52 percent have an unfavorable view. That makes for a clear drop since the previous presidential election cycle. Democrats were held in high esteem by voters in August 2008, with 54 percent of voters viewing the party favorably at that time and only 39 percent viewing it unfavorably.  


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Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama, said Wednesday that she found it curious how little speakers at the Republican National Convention invoked the party's platform.  Over the last week, Republicans have insisted that their platform — which includes an abortion ban that provides no exceptions — does not necessarily mirror the views of their presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Cutter told MSNBC that when Democrats craft their platform, it will be one that Obama can support.  

"I mean, the one thing that you didn't hear last night from any of these speakers, and it will be interesting to see if we hear it tonight, is about the Republican platform," Cutter said. "They apparently had it in the same vault that they had Mitt Romney's taxes in."

She continued: "The platform we'll put forward next week will represent where the president is, and where he wants to take the country."

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