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

After his personal popularity saw a resurgence almost immediately after he wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney's favorability rating has plateaued at a historically low level, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 40 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Romney -- virtually identical to the 41 percent high-water mark that his favorability rating reached in the ABC/WaPo survey from late May. Compounding matters for the presumptive Republican nominee: the percentage of the public who view him unfavorably has jumped from 45 percent to 49 percent. Romney's standing is even lower among independents, with only 37 percent of the bellwether voting bloc viewing him favorably compared with 50 percent who view him unfavorably.

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President Barack Obama leads in Wisconsin and Virginia, while Mitt Romney claims an edge in Colorado, according to a trio of new polls released Wednesday.

The latest installment of the Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News swing state surveys serves as a litmus test of well each campaign's strategies are being received in the three battlegrounds.  Obama leads by 6-points among voters in Wisconsin, polling at 51 percent to Romney's 45 percent. Romney, however, reaches the 50 percent threshold in Colorado, where he leads Obama by 5 points. In Virginia — perhaps the biggest prize of the three states — Obama leads by 4 points, 49 percent to 45 percent.

The innaugural Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS polls last week in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania showed the president leading in all three states. While both sets of surveys show that the majority of voters have made up their minds, there is evidence to suggest that the respective messages of each campaign have made inroads.  Romney, for example, has cut into Obama's once-sizable advantage among women in Colorado. Conversely, the Obama campaign's attacks against Romney's refusal to release more tax returns appear to be resonating: roughly half of voters in Wisconsin, Virginia and Colorado believe the presutmpive Republican nominee should release several years of tax returns.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama with negligble leads over Romney in Virginia (47.5 percent to 44.7 percent) and Colorado (47 percent to 46.8 percent), but a wider lead in Wisconsin (50.8 percent to 45 percent).

Although his job approval rating is down and Mitt Romney's favorability rating is ticking up, President Barack Obama still leads in Colorado, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows the president leading Romney among likely Colorado voters, 49 percent to 43 percent. In a three-way match-up between Obama, Romney and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the president's lead over Romney shrinks to 4 points, 46 percent to 42 percent. Johnson picks up 6 percent support, much stronger than he has performed in other polls and perhaps an indication that the former Republican New Mexico governor poses a greater threat to Obama than Romney in Colorado.

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Rick Santorum, who went back and forth with Mitt Romney in a tense Republican nomination contest earlier this year, will participate in the presumptive GOP nominee's coronation after all. 

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced via Twitter Tuesday morning that Santorum, along with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will address attendees at the party's convention in Tampa later this month. 

A longtime aide to Santorum suggested this week that conservatives would be "quite disturbed" if the former Pennsylvania senator was not afforded a prominent role at the convention, where Romney will formally accept his party's presidential nomination. The RNC announced Monday that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Condoleezza Rice would be among those headlining the quadrennial event.  

A long-time strategist to former Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum told The Hill that Mitt Romney's campaign risks a backlash from conservatives if the ex-Pennsylvania senator isn't awarded a prominent role at the 2012 Republican National Convention later this month in Tampa, Fla. 

John Brabender, a veteran aide to Santorum, said conservatives will be "quite disturbed" if Santorum is not asked to address attendees at the convention.  

“To have him front and center would seem strategically like the right thing to do," Brabender said.

Brabender also told The Hill that Santorum will spearhead an organizing event at the convention intended to build support for Romney.  

The Republican National Commitee on Monday disclosed the names of a number of notable Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Condoleezza Rice, who are slated to speak at the party's convention.  Santorum, who was locked in an often-cotentious campaign with Romney during the Republican nomination contest earlier this year, has yet to be given a speaking role.  

Businessman John Brunner leads his Republican challengers in his bid to claim the party's nomination in Missouri's U.S. Senate race, a new poll released Sunday nights shows.

With Missouri Republicans set to choose their nominee on Tuesday, Brunner leads Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling's final survey of the race, earning 35 percent of the support from likely primary voters.  U.S. House Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) trails with 30 percent, while former state treasurer Sarah Steelman picks up 25 percent support.

A tea party favorite, Steelman looked poised to claim the nomination for much of the campaign.  Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin even paid a visit to Missouri last week to stump on Steelman's behalf.  But Brunner has re-asserted himself as the front-runner thanks to support from so-called middle-of-the-road conservatives.  Self-described moderates prefer him over Steelman in PPP's latest survey, 41-29 percent.

The winner of Tuesday's primary will move on to the general election campaign to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents this year.  

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) might have her work cut out for her in South Dakota's lone U.S. House race, according to a new poll released Friday.  

The survey, conducted by in-state firm Nielson Brothers Polling, shows the freshman Congresswoman barely leading Democratic challenger Matt Varilek among registered voters in South Dakota, 47-46 percent.  

Elected in 2010 after a bruising race against former Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD), Noem has earned star status among fellow Republicans and the tea party faithful.  Varilek, a former staffer for Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), won the Democratic Party's nomination in June.  

Nielson Brothers conducted its survey July 19-23 with 541 registered voters in South Dakota.  The poll has a margin of error of 4.21 percentage points.  

Broadway marquees will be dimmed for one minute Friday evening to pay homage to writer Gore Vidal, who died Tuesday at the age of 86.  

The cast of The Best Man, the play written by Vidal, will dedicate the next week of performances to the late author.  

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Thursday played down the importance of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's running mate.  

"There are great and talented people out there, but vice presidential candidates are interesting choices that will probably only make two or three days worth of news, unless they make some huge gaffe," Perry told CNN. "As long as it's not me, I'll be cool."


Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Friday that the victory of tea party upstart Ted Cruz in the Texas Republican Senate runoff does not augur well for the GOP leadership or the American people.

Appearing on Morning Joe, New York's senior senator argued that some Republican members have veered out of step with the mainstream views of the American public — a category in which he placed Cruz, who Schumer suggested will cause headaches for both voters and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

"They don't want the America most Americans want," Schumer told the panel. "Ted Cruz's victory is a disaster for Mitch McConnell, the Republicans and America."

Cruz's victory in Tuesday's runoff has prompted speculation over how his arrival in the Senate will affect the ongoing gridlock in the chamber.