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 majority of voters in 12 swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago, the latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows.

According to the poll, 56 percent of swing state voters say they are not better off than they were four years ago, compared with 40 percent who say they are better off.  The numbers are comparable to all registered voters nationwide, 55 percent of whom say they are not better off than they were four years ago.  

But despite that pervading sense of frustration, those same swing state voters are split between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney: 44 percent say they would be better off if Obama is re-elected, while 44 percent say they would be better off with a Romney presidency.  

Gallup conducted its swing state poll August 6-13 using live telephone interviews with 970 registered voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.  The poll has a margin of error of four percentage points. 

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Bloomberg reports:

Baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray agreed to pay $358,151 to resolve U.S. regulatory claims that he reaped illegal profits from an insider-trading scheme involving his former Baltimore Orioles teammate Doug DeCinces.

Murray made $235,314 in profits after Abbott Laboratories Inc. said in January 2009 it would acquire Advanced Medical Optics Inc. through a tender offer, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in an e-mail statement today. DeCinces and three others agreed to pay $3.3 million last year to settle SEC claims they reaped a total of $1.7 million, the agency said.

One of the best switch hitters in history, Murray finished his career with more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs — one of only three players to accomplish both feats.  Murray played with seven different clubs, but his best years came with the Baltimore Orioles, the team that drafted him.  

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Jon Ralston, a political columnist for the Las Vegas Sun whose influence extends beyond Nevada, will leave the newspaper at the end of the month to launch his own online platform.  Ralston has written for the Sun for 12 years.

The USS Constitution, the nation's oldest commissioned warship widely known as "OId Iron Sides," will sail under its own power for the second time in over a century when it embarks on a 10-minute trek in Boston Harbor on Sunday.  

h/t CBS News

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan implored supporters in Springfield, Va. on Friday to help he and Mitt Romney secure the political capital necessary to implement their agenda.

"We want to earn your support," Ryan said.  "We want to deserve victory, so that when we win this election, we have the authority, the mandate from the people to get America back on track, get people going to work and get the American dream turned back on for people." 

Former Minnesota governor and Romney campaign national co-chair Tim Pawlenty on Friday denied that he harbored any disappointment about not being tapped to join the Republican presidential ticket — he was just happy to be on the short list.

"Look, I didn't really expect to be considered, much less be a finalist this time so I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed to not get something I didn't expect," Pawlenty told MSNBC. "So it was an honor to be considered but I can genuinely tell you that it's not something I expected so I didn't have disappointment. I told Mitt originally, I don't know if I should even go through the process, but it was an honor to be considered and it was an honor more to be a finalist."

This year marked the second consecutive election cycle in which Pawlenty was strongly considered to serve as the running mate to the Republican presidential nominee.  In 2008, he was vetted by Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) campaign before Sarah Palin, then a little-known governor from Alaska, was selected to join the Republican ticket.

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Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be teaming up on the campaign trail sooner than was originally planned, POLITICO reports.

While the initial plan was for the two candidates to part ways before reuniting at the Republican National Convention at month's end in Tampa, Fla., Romney and Ryan will likely make two joint appearances next week.  Aides told POLITICO that the decision was motivated by the energy that Ryan has brought to the campaign, which has rubbed off on the presidential nominee himself.  

“They really like each other and they feed off of each other,” campaign manager Matt Rhoades told POLITICO. “There’s an energy, there’s a chemistry.”

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A Russian judge on Friday found three members of the all-female punk rock group Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism, Reuters reports.  

The judge said the three women were driven by religious hatred when they staged a protest against President Vladimir Putin outside of a Moscow church in February.  

The trial has set off an international firestorm of sorts, with pop icon Madonna even wading into the controversy when she voiced her support for the embattled musicians during a recent concert in Moscow.  

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The addition of Paul Ryan to the Republican presidential ticket has resulted in a positive impact on fundraising, grassroots activity and polling, Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades contends in a memo released Friday.

In the memo, Rhoades highlights the campaign's online fundraising haul since Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney's running mate last week.  The campaign has generated more than $10 million in online donations, with as much as $7.4 million raised in the three days following the Ryan selection.  Moreover, Rhoades points to a spike in online traffic on the campaign's website, Twitter feed and Facebook page as evidence that Ryan has energized voters.

Rhoades also argues that the Republican ticket has seen a bump in the polls over the last week, underscoring gains made in Gallup's daily tracking polls and a survey from Purple Strategies that showed Romney and Ryan narrowly outperforming President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in swing states.

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Reuters reports:

The White House is "dusting off old plans" for a potential release of oil reserves to dampen rising gasoline prices and prevent high energy costs from undermining the success of Iran sanctions, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday.

U.S. officials will monitor market conditions over the coming weeks, watching whether gasoline prices fall after the September 3 Labor Day holiday, as they historically do, the source said.

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