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

In his typical curmudgeonly fashion, Larry David, co-creator of "Seinfeld" and star of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," urges young people to vote in a video produced by the advocacy group, Our Time.



Citing the negative climate of the current presidential race, Pastor Rick Warren on Wednesday canceled the Civil Forum with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney originally scheduled to be held this week at his Southern California megachurch, the Orange County Register reports.

Warren's forum four years ago at Saddle Back Church in Lake Forest, Calif., with Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was widely praised, but the pastor and best-selling author said the tenor of this year's campaign runs counter to the spirit of the event.

"We created the Civil Forums to promote civility and personal respect between people with major differences," Warren said in an announcement Wednesday. "The forums are meant to be a place where people of good-will can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling. But that is not the climate of today's campaign. I've never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don't expect that tone to change before the election."

First Lady Michelle Obama will sit down for an interview on the Late Show with David Letterman next Wednesday, according to a press release from CBS.

It will be Obama's third appearance on the Late Show, all of which have occurred this year.  She appeared as a guest in March and presented the show's nightly "Top Ten List" in June.

President Barack Obama maintains a considerable lead over Mitt Romney among Latino voters, according to a new poll released Wednesday by NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Telemundo.

The poll shows Obama leading Romney among registered Latino voters nationwide, 63 percent to 28 percent. Obama earns high marks from Latino voters for his job handling the economy and foreign policy, with approval ratings of 59 percent and 58 percent on each respective issue. Sixty-two percent of Latino voters approve of Obama's job performance overall, compared with only 32 percent who disapprove.

The poll suggests that Romney may have his work cut out for him if he is to reach the benchmark set by his campaign. A campaign aide told The Hill that the Republican ticket is vying to claim 38 percent of the Latino vote this November. That's seven percentage points higher than Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) share of the Latino vote in 2008 and just a notch below the 40 percent mark attained by former President George W. Bush in 2004.  

Romney has never reached the 38 percent threshold in the PollTracker Average, which currently shows Obama holding a massive lead among Latino voters, 60.1 percent to 30.9 percent.  

The recent West Nile outbreak that has hit 38 states and affected 1,118 individuals — including 41 cases that led to death — is the largest ever seen in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Roughly 75 percent of the cases have been concentrated in five states: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma. 

The Romney campaign has set an ambitious goal for the portion of the Latino vote necessary to defeat President Barack Obama.   

Jose Fuentes, a co-chairman of Mitt Romney's Latino leadership team and former attorney general of Puerto Rico, told The Hill that the Republican ticket is aiming to claim 38 percent of the Latino vote in November — larger than the 31 percent captured by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008 and just a shade below the impressive 40 percent mark reached by former President George W. Bush in 2004.

"Our goal is to do better than four years ago and the McCain campaign did — our goal is to hit 38 percent with the Hispanic vote," Fuentes said. "That's our goal. That's our national average."

Romney has never reached the 38 percent threshold in the PollTracker Average, which currently shows Obama holding a commanding lead among Latino voters, 59.5 percent to 31.5 percent. 

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum offered a candid assessment of Mitt Romney's chances in an interview with the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz published Wednesday.

“If the campaign is about issues, we win,” Santorum said. “If it’s about Mitt Romney’s record as a businessman, then we don’t win. If it’s about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, then we don’t win. If it’s about whether people like Mitt Romney more than Barack Obama, then we don’t win.”

Santorum and Romney were locked in an often heated campaign for the Republican Party's presidential nomination earlier this year.  The former Pennsylvania senator frequently insisted that Romney was ill-suited to win a general election campaign, due to his moderate record as governor of Massachusetts and history of reversing positions.  But Santorum told Kurtz that those sharp criticisms levied at Romney are now water under the bridge.

“I don’t think that’s a big deal,” Santorum said. “It was a primary. We were competing against each other. We had differences. Those differences pale in comparison to Obama."  


Sandra Fluke will rebuke controversial comments made by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) in a mass email to be sent out Tuesday by the Obama campaign, ABC News reports.

Fluke, who was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut" following her Capitol Hill testimony on contraception, will speak at the Democratic National Convention in September. 

The upcoming ninth season of "The Office," NBC's hit adaptation of the British sitcom with the same name, will be the show's last, producer Greg Daniels confirmed Tuesday.

Premiering in 2005, the show helped vault Steve Carrell to stardom.  Carrell, who played the clumsy but affable boss Michael Scott, left the cast in 2011.  Daniels said Tuesday he hopes Carell will reprise his role at some point during the final season.

Police in Tampa, Fla. on Tuesday confiscated pipes, bricks and other materials deemed "suspicious," the A.P. reports.

The items were found on the rooftop of a building located a mile away from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the Republican National Convention will be held next week.