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

As Republicans continue their struggle to win over Latino voters, few party members have embodied the party's image problem with the burgeoning voting bloc more than Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Her state's controversial law, SB 1070, was criticized by many as a facilitator of racial profiling. During her 2010 campaign, Brewer sought to link crime with illegal immigration by alleging that law enforcement had found decapitated bodies in the Arizona desert, despite no such evidence for the claim.

But on Tuesday, Brewer chalked up the GOP's low standing among Latino voters to pandering on the part of President Barack Obama. Appearing on "POLITICO LIVE" at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Brewer said Obama has ignored border security in favor of winning more Latino votes.

"He panders to them," Brewer said. "Look what he's done: he hasn't secured the borders."

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Notable Republicans and conservatives who died over the last four years will be memorialized tonight at the Republican National Convention, per a press release.  The names of figures such as former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart and former vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp will scroll across a video screen at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.


Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) may not have been nationally known two weeks ago, but that's changed ever since he waded into controversial territory with his remarks about rape and abortion, a new poll released Tuesday shows.

The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP), conducted on behalf of the Daily Kos and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), shows that 83 percent of registered voters nationwide are familiar with Akin's comments, compared with only 17 percent who are not.  A nearly identical portion of respondents — 85 percent — say they disagree with Akin's assertion that so-called "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancy, while a mere 4 percent agree.

Moreover, 75 percent of voters say they are opposed to a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest or wherein the life of the mother is threatened.  Republicans in Tampa, Fla. last week adopted an abortion ban that made no such exceptions as a tenet to the party's platform.

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Gail Gitcho, communications director for the Romney campaign, said on Tuesday that the presumptive Republican nominee will be in the house Tuesday night when his wife, Ann Romney, delivers her speech at the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. 

But while Gitcho confirmed to Fox News that Mitt Romney will be in attendance, she played it coy when asked if he will take the stage.

"We'll have to wait and see," Gitcho said.  

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Robert Gibbs, senior adviser to the Obama campaign, said Tuesday that he doesn't necessarily think the Romney campaign's recent attacks on the president for purportedly gutting the work requirement from the welfare program are racially motivated — as many Democrats have suggested.  What they are, Gibbs said on MSNBC, are completely inaccurate.

"I don't know if they're dog whistling to people in their party," Gibbs told MSNBC's Chuck Todd. "The ad is 100 percent completely false. There is not one person in this country that has looked at this ad from an independent perspective and said the president has in any way, shape or form ended the work requirement."


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Mike Huckabee said on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday morning that government programs such as food stamps do serve a purpose, but expanding them runs the risk of enslaving the very people who rely on them.

There are some people in this country who need food stamps. There are people who need help. We understand that. We don't want to make ever a situation where there is not a need for some of those programs. But when you start expanding government programs that enslave people rather than empower them to come off of those programs with the job and dignity of work, then that's the opposite effect of what those programs were intended to do. They were supposed to be a ladder out of a hole. Not a top on the hole to keep you there.

Former Senate majority leader and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole heaped glowing praise on the Republican ticket in Tuesday's Des Moines Register.  

Ryan previously served as a speechwriter for the late Jack Kemp, Dole's running mate in the 1996 presidential election.

It is no surprise that the Democrats are spewing bitter attacks straight from the negative political playbook of attacking your opponents when your record is sparse.

When I ran for president, Jack Kemp was my running mate. Jack was a mentor to Paul Ryan. They come from the same stock of thoughtful and determined risk takers who never shrink from policy prescriptions that will better the country.

I am proud to know Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Given the problems confronting the nation, I consider this to be a dream ticket — for the Republican Party and the United States.

Read the entire piece here.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Tuesday acknowledged Congress' dismal approval ratings, but the Minnesota Congresswoman and one-time presidential aspirant said the lion's share of the blame should be directed at one legislative body in particular.

Appearing on Fox News Channel, Bachmann argued that she and her House Republican colleagues have done their part.  It's the Senate, controlled by Democrats, that has let voters down, she said.

The House of Representatives, as I said, we passed multiple bills, we sent them to the Senate where they died a sorry death. Harry Reid said, this is unbelievable. He's the head of the Senate. He said, I'm not going to do anything this year. They should be fired over there! I think the president should be castigating Harry Reid and saying, get something done so I can compromise with Republicans. The president, unfortunately, isn't advancing and neither is Harry Reid. So we can pass all the bills we want in the House, but if they don't go anywhere with the Denate and the president, the American people are the ones who lose. That's not right. We want the American people to win and that's why we're trying to do everything we can to change out the president and change out Harry Reid as the leader so that we can actually get something done for the good of the American people.


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