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

A new poll from a Republican pollster finds Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) ahead in Ohio's U.S. Senate race, while President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck in the Buckeye State.

The latest poll conducted by Republican polling firm Magellan Strategies on behalf of Opportunity Ohio shows Brown, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, leading GOP challenger and state treasurer Josh Mandel, 45 percent to 38 percent.

In the presidential race, Obama holds a 2-point lead over Romney among likely Ohio voters — an edge that is well within the poll's 4.01 percent margin of error.  

The PollTracker Average shows that Ohio currently favors both Democrats, with Brown leading Mandel, 45.2-39.7 percent, and Obama holding a 47.2-42 percent advantage over Romney in the perennial swing state.  

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President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney among likely voters nationwide, according to a new poll released Monday.

A survey conducted by Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on behalf of Democracy Corps shows Obama earning the support of 50 percent of likely voters, while trails with the support of 46 percent.  The president's job approval rating also reaches the 50 percent plateau in Monday's poll.  Among those surveyed, 50 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, compared with 46 percent who disapprove.

The PollTracker Average shows Obama's approval rating still underwater —46.8 percent approve while 49.4 disapprove — although it has improved markedly in 2012.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Monday defended his decision to tap Sarah Palin as his 2008 running mate after former Vice President Dick Cheney questioned the selection over the weekend.

Appearing on Fox & Friends, McCain said he stands by his choice, while recalling past disagreements with Cheney over the treatment of detained terrorist suspects.

"I'm always glad to get comments four years later," McCain told host Brian Kilmeade.  "I respect the vice president. He and I had strong disagreements as to whether we should torture people or not. I don't think we should have. But the fact is that I'm proud of Sarah Palin. I'm proud of the job she did. I'm proud of the job she continues to do. So everybody has their own views and I respect those views. I'm proud of what we did."

In an interview with ABC that aired on Sunday, Cheney called McCain's choice of Palin "a mistake."

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Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) finds herself down against all three potential Republican opponents in her re-election bid, a new poll released Saturday shows.  

A new survey from Mason-Dixon, conducted on behalf of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and News 4, shows would-be Republican challengers John Brunner, Sarah Steelman and Todd Akin all topping the first-term senator.  McCaskill trails Missouri businessman Brunner, 52-41 percent,  former state treasurer Steelman, 49-41 percent, and US. House Rep. Akin, 49-44 percent.  

The Missouri Republican primary will be held on August 7.  Mason-Dixon's poll shows Brunner leading among likely Republican primary voters with the support of 33 percent.  Steelman picks up the support of 27 percent, while Akin polls at 17 percent.  

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Ted Cruz leads David Dewhurst in the intense Republican Senate runoff in Texas, according to a new poll released Sunday evening.  

In the final survey from Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) before Tuesday's runoff, Cruz leads Dewhurst among likely voters, 52 percent to 42 percent.  The PollTracker Average currently shows Cruz holding a 5-point advantage over Dewhurst.  

Cruz, the former state solicitor general, has emerged as the favorite candidate of the tea party.  He campaigned with former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin last week and his candidacy has been energized by momentum at the grassroots level in the months since the May Republican primary.  Dewhurst, the state lieutenant governor backed by Gov. Rick Perry and other members of the Texas Republican establishment, topped a crowded primary field but failed to eclipse the 50 percent threshold necessary to win the nomination outright.  

That set the stage for a runoff with Cruz, who finished 11-points behind Dewhurst in the primary.  Cruz has generated considerable enthusiasm since then, while Dewhurst has been forced to spend much of his own money.  The two candidates are vying  to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R).

From PPP's analysis:

Cruz has a 63-33 advantage with voters who describe themselves as 'very excited' about voting in Tuesday's runoff election. He also has a 49-45 advantage with those describing themselves as 'somewhat excited.' The only reason this race is even remotely competitive is Dewhurst's 59-31 lead with voter who say they're 'not that excited' about voting. It's an open question whether those folks will really show up and if they don't it's possible Cruz could end up winning by closer to 20 points. 

The greater excitement among Cruz voters can also be measured by their eagerness to get out and cast their ballots during the early voting period. Cruz leads 55-40 among those who say they've already voted, so Dewhurst will likely need a huge advantage among election day voters to overcome the deficit. But Cruz has a 49-44 lead with those who have yet to vote too.

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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) is receiving treatment for "depression and gastrointestinal issues" at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., WGN-TV in Chicago reports.  

Mayo Clinic released a statement Friday evening on behalf of Jackson:

“Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has arrived at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and gastrointestinal issues.

Further information will be released as Congressman Jackson's evaluation proceeds.

Congressman Jackson and his family are grateful for the outpouring of support and prayers that have been received throughout his care.”

The lawmaker from Chicago's South Side has been on a mysterious medical leave for weeks.  Jackson's whereabouts or condition had not been fully specified until Friday.

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The Guardian reports:

David Cameron will challenge Vladimir Putin next week to support a fresh UN security council resolution condemning the Assad regime in Syria and paving the way for non-military intervention.

The prime minister will raise his concerns with the Russian president when Putin visits London next Thursday to see the judo at the Olympic Games.

Cameron made light of the Putin visit, his first to London since he embarked on the presidency again, when he spoke to the Global Investment Conference in London on Thursday.

Stressing that the main focus of their talks would be trade, the prime minister said: "We will be at the judo so it may be a bit off-putting. But nonetheless I know my major priority is to get those trade deals, to get that investment and not to concentrate on what is happening on the mat."

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President Barack Obama holds a solid lead Mitt Romney in the perennial bellwether of Ohio, according to a new poll relased Friday.

In the latest auotomated survey from Republican-leaning pollster WeAskAmerica, Obama earns the support of 48 percent of likely Ohio voters, while Romney trails with 40 percent.  Gary Johnson, who is running on the Libertarian ticket, picks up the support of 2 percent of voters.  

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama leading in Ohio by a comparable margin, an advantage he has held in the Buckeye State throughout the 2012 campaign.  

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Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, and his wife, MacKenzie, have made a significant financial contribution to the coalition campaigning to defend a state law in Washington that protects civil marriage for same-sex couples.

Washington United for Marriage (WUM) announced on Friday a $2.5 million financial gift from the Bezoses, bringing the coalition's fundraising total to $5 million.

"I am thrilled by Jeff and MacKenzie's staggeringly generous donation," said WUM's volunteer finance co-chair Jennifer Cast said in a press release.  "Their support of our efforts to approve R74 comes at an important time and will have great impact.  I am deeply grateful to both of them as this donation is going to help us make history."

Washington voters will decide on Referendum 74 in November.  If approved, the referendum will uphold a measure legalizing same-sex marriage that was passed by state lawmakers in Olympia and signedby outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) in February.

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