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 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.


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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.

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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.  

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.

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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.

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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.

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