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

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.


President Barack Obama holds a 9-point lead in Pennsylvania, according to a new poll released Saturday.

The latest Inquirer Pennsylvania Poll shows Obama leading Mitt Romney among likely voters in the Keystone State, 51 percent to 42 percent.  Obama's lead can be readily explained by the disparate popularity of the two candidates.  The president is viewed favorably by 53 percent of Pennsylvania voters, compared with 47 percent who view him unfavorably.  

Romney, on the other hand, is viewed favorably by only 43 percent, while 50 percent have an unfavorable view of the former Massachusetts governor.  It's a problem that has vexed Romney's candidacy throughout the campaign, and it may well be the factor that helps Obama overcome a sluggish national economy and win re-election.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Pennsylvania favoring Obama, who leads Romney, 49.9 percent to 41.4 percent.

The beleaguered U.S. Senate campaign of Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) was hit with another discouraging development Friday evening, with a new poll showing him trailing Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) by 9 points while being viewed unfavorably by a majority of likely Missouri voters.

According to the survey, conducted by Mason-Dixon on behalf of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis-based CBS affiliate KMOV-TV, McCaskill leads the embattled Akin among likely voters, 50 percent to 41 percent. That's a sharp reversal from Mason-Dixon's poll of the race a month ago before the Republican primary, when Akin held a 5-point advantage over the Democratic incumbent in a hypothetical match-up.

McCaskill's newfound lead can be largely attributed to an enormous gender gap. The poll shows the first-term senator with a massive lead over Akin among women voters, 55 percent to 37 percent. A month ago, McCaskill held a mere 1-point edge over Akin among women.

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President Barack Obama holds a 4-point lead over Mitt Romney in Colorado, according to a new poll released Friday.

The survey, released jointly by-state progressive firm Keating Research and Onsight Public Affairs, shows Obama earning the support of 48 percent of likely voters in Colorado, while Romney trails with 44 percent.  Conducted August 21-22 — over a week after Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate — the poll indicates that the addition of the House Budget Committee chairman has not given the Republican ticket much of a bump in the state, the pollsters argue.

“Clearly, Romney’s choice of Ryan as his running mate has not provided an impact on the Presidential race in Colorado,” said Chris Keating, president and founder of Keating Research. 

Obama's lead in the poll is due in no small part to his strength among Colorado women and Latinos, among whom he leads Romney by 10 and 33 points respectively.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Colorado leaning toward Obama, who leads Romney, 48.7 percent to 44.7 percent.



"The Romney-Ryan momentum is building, while the enthusiasm for Obama and Biden dwindles," writes Rick Wiley, political director for the Republican National Commitee, in a memo circulated Friday to trumpet growing energy behind the GOP ticket as the party heads to its convention next week.

Wiley cites the latest swing state poll from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times, which showed President Barack Obama leading in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin. Rather than highlight the head-to-head numbers from the poll, Wiley instead focuses on the survey's findings on voter enthusiasm. The poll showed Republicans with an enthusiasm advantage in all three battleground states.  


President Barack Obama is widely considered more likable than his Republican challenger, while Mitt Romney is the preferred candidate on the economy, a new poll released Friday shows.

According to the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, 54 percent of registered voters nationwide view Obama as the more likable candidate, while only 31 percent give that distinction to Romney. In fact, the poll shows the president leading Romney on a host of issues. Voters prefer Obama over Romney to handle foreign affairs, 54 percent to 40 percent, and taxes, 52 percent to 43 percent. The president is also viewed by 53 percent of voters as the better candidate to handle Medicare, which has re-emerged as a prominent issue in the campaign following Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate.  

Among the seven policy areas tested by Gallup, the presumptive Republican nominee claims the edge on only two.  Romney leads Obama on the paramount issue of the economy, 52 percent to 43 percent, as well as the federal budget deficit, 54 percent to 39 percent.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Romney with the upper hand on the economy, 46.5 percent to 42.9 percent.


Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's decision to end his challenge to charges from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on Thursday evening was announced through a statement.  The decision prompted the USADA to take swift action, imposing a lifetime ban on Armstrong and stripping him of his Tour titles.  

In the statement, Armstrong maintained his innocence, but said he no longer has a desire to fight what he called a "witch hunt."

There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.

Read the full statement here.

Ann Romney's speech at the Republican National Convention, originally scheduled to take place Monday, may now be moved to Tuesday, Politico's Dylan Byers reports

The schedule change is being considered as part of an effort to secure a larger television audience for Romney, as the big three networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — will not be broadcasting primetime coverage of the convention on Monday.

Pakastani officials said that missiles fired by the U.S. on Friday killed 18 suspected militants situated in compounds located near the Afghanistan border.  The attack comes one day after the Pakastani government summoned an American diplomat to protest the growing number of drone strikes.