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

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.

Florida political campaigns — for candidates on both the state and national level — raised a staggering $12.8 million in one week, according to a new study from the Tampa Bay Times.

The Times calculated the fundraising haul for Florida political candidates and political committees, as well as money donated by Floridians to President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and their super PACs, from June 24 until June 30.  

While the nearly $13 million, one-week total dwarfs the entire amount raised by previous campaigns, the actual number could be even higher.  In its analysis, the Times excluded campaign contributions county-level candidates and donations made to third-party groups, which aren't legally required to disclose their donors.

As Republicans enter their convention this week, their presidential nominee is asserting a decided edge over President Barack Obama on the all-important issue of the economy, a new poll released Monday shows.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Mitt Romney barely leading Obama among registered voters nationwide, 47 percent to 46 percent.  But while the horse race is a dead heat, Romney claims a clear advantage on the economy.  Fifty-percent of voters trust Romney to handle the nation's economy, compared with 43 percent who prefer Obama.  Voters are divided when it comes to confidence in Romney's ability to improve the nation's stagnant economy: 46 percent are confident that the economy would get back on track in a Romney presidency, compared with 52 percent who are not confident.  

That may amount to a resounding vote of confidence, but it's far better than Obama's showing on the same question.  Fifty-eight percent are not confident that a second Obama term would get the economy back on track, while 42 percent are confident in the president's ability to turn it around if re-elected.  Moreover, only 43 percent approve of Obama's job handling the economy, compared with 56 percent who disapprove.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Romney clinging to a narrow lead overall, 47 percent to 46.4 percent, while boasting a slightly larger advantage over Obama on the economy.

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Saturday issued a statement regarding the death of American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.  

Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. With courage unmeasured and unbounded love for his country, he walked where man had never walked before. The moon will miss its first son of earth.

 I met and spoke with Neil Armstrong just a few weeks ago--his passion for space, science and discovery, and his devotion to America will inspire me through my lifetime.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama released a statement expressing grief over the death of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon who died on Saturday.

Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Neil Armstrong. 

Neil was among the greatest of American heroes - not just of his time, but of all time.  When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation.  They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable - that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten. 

Today, Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown - including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure - sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.