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

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."  


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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. 

The Obama campaign made it official on Tuesday: Vice President Joe Biden will host a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla on Monday.  Additional details will be announced later.  

Biden's appearance is notable in that it will be held in the same city and at the same time as the Republican National Convention, which kicks off on Monday.

When Republicans descend upon Tampa, Fla. next week for their quadrennial confab, they'll have a familiar foe in their midst.  

The Washington Post's Rachel Weiner reports that Vice President Joe Biden will host a campaign rally in Tampa on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention.

A new poll released Tuesday lends credence to what Democrats -- and even some Republicans -- have warned about Paul Ryan being thrust onto the GOP ticket: Most Americans don't much care for the Wisconsin Congressman's sweeping proposal to reform Medicare.

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 45 percent of registered voters are opposed to Ryan's proposed reforms to Medicare, while 36 percent support his proposal.

A star among Republicans and the tea party, Ryan's entrance in the presidential race has rejuvenated a conservative electorate that has been slow to warm up to Mitt Romney.

The Romney camp has attempted to distance itself from the policy plank for which Ryan is best known -- his sweeping budget proposal, which included a plan to supplant Medicare for seniors with a private voucher system, that passed the House of Representatives largely along party lines earlier this year -- insisting that it's the budget put forth by the candidate at the top of the ticket that matters the most. Tuesday's poll suggests that might not please Republicans, 65 percent of whom support Ryan's plan for Medicare.

But PPP delved deeper with its next question, shifting from general language ("Do you support or oppose Paul Ryan's proposal for reforming Medicare?") to a specific reference to the Medicare voucher program -- causing support for Ryan's Medicare plan to erode even further. Sixty-three percent of voters say that Medicare should not be replaced with vouchers to allow the elderly to buy private insurance, while only 19 percent support the voucher plan.

Worse for Ryan, only 29 percent of Republicans support the voucher plan. That's higher than the 6 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents who support the plan, but it still represents the minority position in the GOP: 44 percent of Republicans say Medicare should not be replaced with a voucher system. Polls have consistently shown low support for Ryan's proposed changes to Medicare, underscoring the vulnerabilities in Romney's vice presidential pick.

PPP conducted its survey August 16-19 using automated telephone interviews with 1,000 registered voters nationwide. Its margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.

The presidential horse race remains tight even in the wake of Paul Ryan's entrance in the race, a new poll released Monday shows.

According to the latest Monmouth University Poll, President Barack Obama nurses a slim lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters nationwide, 46 percent to 45 percent — virtually identical to Obama's 1-point lead in Monmouth's previous national poll conducted in June.

Obama holds massive leads among Latinos and African-Americans, as well as a solid 12-point edge among women.  Romney, meanwhile, leads among white voters by 10 points and men by 4 points.  Perhaps most crucially, the presumptive Republican nominee claims a 3-point lead with independents.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama leading Romney among independent voters, 41.5 percent to 38.1 percent.  

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Obama for America will release seven different radio ads Tuesday, attacking Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on a variety of different fronts — from Ryan's much-scrutinized proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher system to proposed cuts in clean energy under a Romney presidency — the campaign announced in a press release on Monday.  

The ads — specifically tailored for each state in which they will air — will run in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.  

Although she's forcefully condemned the controversial remarks made Sunday by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) doesn't think it would be appropriate for Republicans to find a new candidate.

Appearing on Morning Joe on Monday, McCaskill cautioned Republicans against replacing Akin, who won the party's nomination in a primary earlier this month.

"Todd Akin won by a comfortable margin and was supported by many very strongly," McCaskill said.  "I mean, he has some passionate supporters in the Republican Party...So I really think that for the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that they're going to invalidate their decision, that would be pretty radical. I think there could be a backlash for the Republicans if they did that."

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