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

The A.P.'s Jim Vertuno reports:

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday night it will strip Lance Armstrong of his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles after he declared he was finished fighting the drug charges that threaten his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.

Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, said Armstrong would also be hit with a lifetime ban on Friday.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa told the BBC on Thursday that the standoff involving Julian Assange "could be ended tomorrow" if Great Britain provided the Wikileaks founder with safe passage to Ecuador.  

Absent a resolution by Friday, Correa said the situation "could go on for months and years."  Assange was granted asylum at Ecuador's London embassy in June and has remained there ever since.  

A new round of swing state polls released Thursday shows President Barack Obama clinging to narrow leads in Florida and Wisconsin, while boasting a solid advantage in the crucial bellwether of Ohio.

According to a trio of polls from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times, likely voters in all three states identify the economy and health care as the two most important issues. With the national economy still lagging and the president's health care reform law receiving lukewarm public approval at best, Republicans have sought to bring down Obama politically on both fronts.

Thursday's polls indicate Obama can overcome both purported liabilities -- especially in Ohio, where he claims a 6-point edge over Mitt Romney, 50 percent to 44 percent. The Buckeye State has proven to be favorable terrain to Obama throughout the 2012 campaign, while Romney has struggled to gain traction there. The Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll shows the presumptive Republican nominee struggling to ingratiate himself with Ohio voters. Only 39 percent have a favorable view of Romney, compared with 45 percent who have an unfavorable view. Obama is viewed favorably by 51 percent of Ohio voters, while 45 percent have an unfavorable view of the president.

Obama has consistently led the PollTracker Average of Ohio, which shows him up by 3.2 percentage points.

Obama leads by 3 points in Florida, 49 percent to 46 percent -- down from the 6-point edge he held in the Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll conducted in late July. Only 20 percent of Florida voters are more likely to support Romney following the addition of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to the Republican ticket, while 19 percent say they are less likely and 58 percent say it will make no difference.

In fact, roughly half of the likely voters sampled in all three states say that Romney's selection of Ryan will not sway them one way or the other. Ryan gives the GOP challengers the most significant bump in his native Wisconsin, where 30 percent of voters say they are more likely to support Romney in light of the House Budget Committee chairman's entrance in the race. Romney and Ryan have caught into Obama's lead in the Badger State since the previous Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll there. The president now clings to a 2-point lead in Wisconsin, 49 percent to 47 percent. That's a clear dip in support since the late July survey -- before the Ryan pick -- which showed Obama with a 6-point lead in Wisconsin.

Voters in all three states are sharply divided when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, the health care overhaul passed by congressional Democrats and signed into law by Obama. Despite that polarization, Obama has an advantage over Romney on the issue. At least 50 percent of voters in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin believe Obama would do a better job than Romney on the issue of health care. On the issue cited as the most important in all three states -- the economy -- Romney has the edge in Florida and Wisconsin. Voters in Ohio are divided over which candidate would do a better job on the economy.

The PollTracker Average currently shows both Florida and Wisconsin in the toss-up column.

Faculty at Quinnipiac University conducted the polls Aug. 15-21 using live telephone interviews with 1,241 likely voters in Florida, 1,253 likely voters in Ohio and likely voters 1,190 in Wisconsin. The margin of error for each sample is 2.8 percentage points.

An autopsy conducted by the San Bernadino county coroner in California found that Rodney King's death in June was the result of an accidental drowning, but drugs found in his system are being cited as contributing factors.  The results of the autopsy, made public Thursday, are consistent with the findings of an earlier police investigation.


Benefitting from strong support from women voters in the state, President Barack Obama holds a 5.5-point lead over Mitt Romney in Michigan, a new poll released Thursday shows.

The poll, conducted by Glengariff Group, shows Obama earning the support of 47.5 percent of likely voters in Michigan, while Romney trails with 42 percent support. While Michigan voters are divided over which candidate would do a better job presiding over the economy, Obama is bolstered by an 11-point advantage among women voters in the state, as well as high marks for his administration's successful effort to restructure the U.S. automotive industry. On the question of who would do a better job planning for the state's auto industry, 42.5 percent give the nod to Obama, while 32.2 percent prefer Romney.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama with the upper hand in the Great Lakes State, leading Romney by 5.1 points.

President Barack Obama's approval rating is under water in Pennsylvania, but he's still holding a 9-point advantage over Mitt Romney there, a new poll released Thursday shows.

The poll — conducted by Muhlenberg College and commissioned by the Morning Call — shows Obama with plenty of breathing room, leading among likely voters in Pennsylvania, 49 percent to 40 percent. Obama's lead comes despite a medicore approval rating, with only 43 percent of voters giving the president positive marks for his job performance. Forty-nine percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing.

But Romney's standing is even lower among Pennsylvania voters. The poll shows 37 percent have a favorable view of the presumptive Republican nominee, while 49 percent have an unfavorable view. Obama is viewed favorably by 48 percent of likely voters.

The PollTracker Average shows Obama with a comparable lead in Pennsylvania, 49.1 percent to 41.1 percent.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden claim a slim national lead over the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a new poll released Thursday shows.

The latest survey from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, conducted on behalf of the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times, shows Obama and Biden with a 2-point edge among likely voters nationwide, 48 percent to 46 percent.

As has been the case throughout the campaign, the poll shows Obama viewed more favorably than Romney.  Fifty-three percent of likely voters have a favorable view of the president, compared with 45 percent who have an unfavorable view.  Romney is viewed favorably 46 percent of likely voters, while 48 percent view him unfavorably.  Although his name idenitifcation is lower than the two candidates at the top of each ticket, Ryan's favorability rating is above water: 40 percent have a favorable view of the House Budget Committee chairman favorably, while 33 percent have an unfavorable view.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama clinging to a nationwide lead over Romney, 46.4 percent to 45.6 percent, while the TPM Electoral Scoreboard shows the president with a more sizable advantage 

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) holds a 7-point lead over Republican challenger Josh Mandel in Ohio's U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The latest survey from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times shows Brown leading Mandel, the current Ohio state treasurer and Marine veteran, 48 percent to 41 percent.  Brown, first elected to the Senate in 2006, held a 12-point lead in the Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll from a month ago.

The PollTracker Average currently Brown leading Mandel, 46.7 percent to 41.3 percent,

Two-term incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) holds a comfortable 9-point edge over his Republican challeneger, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The latest poll from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times shows Nelson leading Rep. Connie Mack among likely voters in Florida, 50 percent to 41 percent.  That amounts to a slightly bump for Nelson, who held a 7-point lead in the Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT survey conducted in late July. 

Nelson appears to have re-asserted himself as the favorite after a several polls showed a tightening race earlier this summer.  The PollTracker Average currently shows Nelson leading Mack, 48.2 percent to 40.1 percent.

When Ann Romney takes the stage on Monday evening at the Republican National Convention, the three major networks will be broadcasting something else.

Politico's Dylan Byers reports that CBS, NBC and ABC do not plan to air primetime coverage of the convention on Monday, when the wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is scheduled to deliver her speech.