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

If he were to run as a Democrat in Florida's 2014 gubernatorial election, Charlie Crist would edge Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), a new poll released Friday shows.

The latest poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that Crist leads the hypothetical match-up, 44 percent to 41 percent.  Crist was a member of the Republican Party when he served as the state's governor from 2007 until 2011.  In 2010, he ran for U.S. Senate as an independent, ultimately falling to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).  Friday's poll shows that 42 percent of voters believe that Crist should become a Democrat, while only 27 percent believe he should not switch parties.

Elected in 2010 after spending over $70 million of his own funds during the campaign, Scott has battled anemic approval ratings throughout his first term.  Only 39 percent of voters approve of his job performance in PPP's survey, while 51 percent disapprove.  The PollTracker Average currently shows Scott's approval rating well under water, with 38.3 percent approving and 51.7 percent disapproving.


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The A.P. reports:

The Obama administration is readying new sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and its allies.

Senior officials traveling with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she wraps up a nine-nation tour of Africa say that fresh sanctions aimed at hastening Assad's ouster are imminent.

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If Donald Trump's claims that he will play a prominent role at the 2012 Republican National Convention are true, Reince Priebus doesn't know anything about it.  

Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, offered a vague response when asked by CNN on Friday if the real estate mogul and outspoken birther was involved in the plans for the quadrennial party confab.

"Well, for one thing, Donald Trump is a good friend of our party and I'm thankful to Donald Trump for the work he's done for us and for Governor Romney," Priebus said. "I don't know right now what he's going to do at the convention. But I do know that he's important to us and I know that he's somebody that we appreciate. Because he's telling the truth as far as where we're at in this economy. That's what we need to talk about."

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Organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention are considering scheduling moderate Republicans on at least two of the three nights, POLITICO reports.  

The plan would include appearances by notable Republicans, both from the business community and the world of politics:

Convention planners are considering featuring a centrist Republican leader on at least two of the three nights. Nightly remotes from swing states may include a CEO or “major Republican.” On Wednesday night, a “notable GOP woman” is among the possible participants. And on the final night, Democrats may include a Republican leader — someone like former Sens. John Warner or Chuck Hagel — or a GOP woman.


POLITICO also reports that the convention will feature testimonials from "real people" who will convey how they have benefitted from President Barack Obama's policies.  Other plans include appearances by two people who will detail their personal experience with a polarizing issue — what planners are calling a "social contrast" — with one celebrating Obama's actions, and the other decrying the policies advocated by Mitt Romney.  But DNC organizers are cautious when it comes to highlighting gay marriage.  According to convention documents obtained by POLITICO, the same-sex marriage social contrast will include parents with a gay son or daughter, rather than a gay couple.  

The convention is planned to run three nights on September 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C.  

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Mitt Romney opened up about his career at Bain Capital in an interview with Businessweek published Thursday — even addressing an unflattering photo from his time at the private equity firm.

The photo in question shows Romney and his colleagues at Bain proudly flaunting wads of cash.  It's surfaced in attack ads against the presumptive Republican nominee, helping to drive home the caricature of him as a greedy corporate raider.  But Romney views it differently, telling Businessweek that the photo captured a light-hearted moment.

Oh, that was a moment of humor as we had just done what we thought was impossible. We had raised $37 million from other people and institutions who entrusted us with their funds, and we thought it was a miracle that our group had been able to be so successful in fundraising. And ultimately we were able to yield for them a very attractive return by such investments as Staples (SPLS), which was in our very first fund.

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Hawaii's Democratic Senate primary that pits a former and current U.S. House representative is a dead heat, a new poll released Wednesday shows.

The latest poll from Hawaii-based Civil Beat shows former Rep. Ed Case barely edging Rep. Mazie Hirono among likely primary voters, 47 percent to 46 percent.  Case represented Hawaii's second Congressional District from 2002 until 2007, when he was succeeded by Hirono after deciding to seek challenge longtime Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) in a 2006 primary.  Akaka announced last year that he would not seek re-election.  The winer of Saturday's primary will likely face former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, who is widely expected to win her party's nomination, in the general election.  

Wednesday's poll runs counter to a different poll released earlier this week by Democratic firm Benenson Strategy Group, which showed Hirono leading Case by 17-points.  The PollTracker Average currently shows Hirono leading Case by 5-points, 47.3 percent to 42.3 percent.  

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Support is growing for a proposed Colorado amendment to legalize marijuana, a new poll released Wednesday shows, and the referendum could upend the former member of the Choom Gang who currently occupies the White House.

The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that 47 percent of likely Colorado voters support Amendment 64, which will appear on the state ballot in November. That's a small uptick since PPP's June survey, which showed 46 percent support, but opposition to the measure is dropping. Only 38 percent of voters oppose Amendment 64 in Wednesday's poll, down from 42 percent in June.

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After his personal popularity saw a resurgence almost immediately after he wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney's favorability rating has plateaued at a historically low level, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 40 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Romney -- virtually identical to the 41 percent high-water mark that his favorability rating reached in the ABC/WaPo survey from late May. Compounding matters for the presumptive Republican nominee: the percentage of the public who view him unfavorably has jumped from 45 percent to 49 percent. Romney's standing is even lower among independents, with only 37 percent of the bellwether voting bloc viewing him favorably compared with 50 percent who view him unfavorably.

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President Barack Obama leads in Wisconsin and Virginia, while Mitt Romney claims an edge in Colorado, according to a trio of new polls released Wednesday.

The latest installment of the Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News swing state surveys serves as a litmus test of well each campaign's strategies are being received in the three battlegrounds.  Obama leads by 6-points among voters in Wisconsin, polling at 51 percent to Romney's 45 percent. Romney, however, reaches the 50 percent threshold in Colorado, where he leads Obama by 5 points. In Virginia — perhaps the biggest prize of the three states — Obama leads by 4 points, 49 percent to 45 percent.

The innaugural Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS polls last week in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania showed the president leading in all three states. While both sets of surveys show that the majority of voters have made up their minds, there is evidence to suggest that the respective messages of each campaign have made inroads.  Romney, for example, has cut into Obama's once-sizable advantage among women in Colorado. Conversely, the Obama campaign's attacks against Romney's refusal to release more tax returns appear to be resonating: roughly half of voters in Wisconsin, Virginia and Colorado believe the presutmpive Republican nominee should release several years of tax returns.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama with negligble leads over Romney in Virginia (47.5 percent to 44.7 percent) and Colorado (47 percent to 46.8 percent), but a wider lead in Wisconsin (50.8 percent to 45 percent).

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Although his job approval rating is down and Mitt Romney's favorability rating is ticking up, President Barack Obama still leads in Colorado, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows the president leading Romney among likely Colorado voters, 49 percent to 43 percent. In a three-way match-up between Obama, Romney and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the president's lead over Romney shrinks to 4 points, 46 percent to 42 percent. Johnson picks up 6 percent support, much stronger than he has performed in other polls and perhaps an indication that the former Republican New Mexico governor poses a greater threat to Obama than Romney in Colorado.

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