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 presidential race remains extremely close among voters nationwide, as President Barack Obama claims an advantage on compassion while Mitt Romney is seen as better for job creation, a new poll released Tuesday shows.

According to the latest survey from CBS News, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are in a dead heat with Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), 46 percent to 45 percent.  

Obama is widely viewed as the more empathetic candidate. Fifty-four percent of voters say the president understands problems of people like them, while 42 percent say he does not. Only 41 percent of voters say Romney understands their problems, compared with 50 percent who say he does not.

But voters have more confidence in the former Massachusetts governor's ability to improve the nation's employment outlook, with 43 percent saying Romney has a clear plan to create jobs and 45 percent saying he does not.  Conversely, only 35 percent say Obama has a clear jobs plan, while 58 percent say he does not.

The PollTracker Average shows Obama only edging Romney by a razor-thin margin, 46.4 percent to 46.1 percent. 

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Professional wrestling mogul and Republican nominee Linda McMahon leads Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in Connecticut's tight U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The latest survey from Quinnipiac University shows McMahon leading Murphy among likely Connecticut voters, 49 percent to 46 percent.  

The PollTracker Average currently mirrors the findings of the Quinnipiac poll, with McMahon leading Murphy by 3 points. 

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As Republicans and Democrats descend on Florida and North Carolina over the next two weeks for their respective conventions, a new poll released Monday shows a tight presidential race in both battlegrounds.

In a new CNN/Time poll, available exclusively on the CNN/Time Convention Floor Pass app, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden top Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) among likely voters in Florida, 50 percent to 46 percent. Obama and Biden have a 12-point lead among Florida women and a 41-point advantage among "non-white" voters in the Sunshine State.

Romney and Ryan, meanwhile, lead by 4 points among men and hold an 18-point advantage among white voters. Among voters 65 years and older -- a bloc drawing increased attention, particularly in Florida, due to the campaign's recent focus on Medicare -- the GOP ticket leads by 6 points, 51 percent to 45 percent.

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The United States Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce on Monday announced that it will endorse President Barack Obama in this year's election. 

Thomas L. Leto III, president and founder of the group, said Obama understands the economic potential of medical cannabis.  Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Leto argued, "just doesn't get it."  

Legalization advocates may be chagrined by the endorsement.  The Obama administration has disappointed many drug reform proponents by the ramp up in federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries during the president's first term even in states where they are legal.   

(h/t Politicker)

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The United States military on Monday announced that it will be taking disciplinary action against the troops responsible for burning copies of the Koran and urinating on corpses earlier this year in Afhganistan, Reuters reports

The incidents set off an international firestorm and prompted a sharp rebuke from Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  

From Reuters:

The military said the punishments were administrative, which could include actions such as a reprimand, reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay. Neither incident so far has resulted in criminal charges, however, something that may fail to satisfy Afghan demands for justice.


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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.

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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.

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"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.  

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