Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, Tom served as assistant polling editor for TPM Media's PollTracker during the 2012 campaign. Before joining TPM, he worked on political campaigns and wrote for various publications in Minnesota and his native South Dakota. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

The new Quinnipiac poll of Florida shows a majority of voters there oppose same-sex marriage, already banned under the state constitution.  

Among voters surveyed, 50 percent said they oppose same-sex marriage, while 40 percent support.  But when given a three-way choice, 36 percent same-sex couples actually should be allowed to marry, 34 percent support their right to form a legal union but not marry, while 23 percent believe they should not receive any legal recognition of their relationships.  Florida passed a constitutional amendment in 2008 that defined marriage as union between a man and a woman.

But gay marriage will likely have little impact on the presidential race there: 63 percent of voters said President Barack Obama's recent support of same-sex marriage will makae no difference on their vote, while 59 percent likewise said that Mitt Romney's opposition to civil unions will not be a factor.  

The Quinnipiac poll, released Wednesday, also showed Romney besting Obama in Florida, 46 percent to 41 percent.  

Newt Gingrich has issued a warning to former rival Mitt Romney, who is set to formally accept the Republican nomination at the party's national convention in Tampa, Fla.: beware of Ron Paul supporters.

Paul has picked up delegates at various state party conventions, which Gingrich thinks could cause a disruption on the floor of the Republican National Convention in August.  

“I think the biggest danger in the short run is that they not think through how they’re going to handle the convention in Tampa, and how they’re going to handle the Ron Paul forces,” Gingrich said on Sean Hannity's radio program Monday.

(h/t ABC News)

Amid renewed scrutiny of his time at Bain Capital, a new poll examines how voters view presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's career at the private equity firm.

The poll, conducted by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) on behalf of Daily Kos and SEIU, found that 57 percent of voters believe Romney's primary concern at Bain Capital was making a profit.  A much smaller group of voters — 12 percent — believe that Romney was largely motivated to create jobs, while 25 percent say he cared about both equally.  

Romney's career with Bain has been a linchpin of his presidential campaign, with the former Massachusetts governor routinely touting his role as a job creator in the private sector.  President Barack Obama's campaign has sought to reverse that narrative over the last week, highlighting layoffs made by Bain while Romney was at the helm.

The poll of 1,000 registered voters nationwide was conducted May 17-20.  It has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.  

Archbishop Timothy Dolan took aim at the Obama administration Tuesday, arguing that the president's contraception policies are "strangling" the Catholic Church.

"They tell us if you're really going be considered a church, if you're going to be really exempt from these demands of the government, well, you have to propagate your Catholic faith and everything you do, you can serve only Catholics and employ only Catholics," Dolan said during an interview on CBS Tuesday.  "We're like, wait a minute, when did the government get in the business of defining for us the extent of our ministry?"  

The remarks from the outspoken and influential American bishop come nearly a week after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave a commencement address at Georgetown University amid protests from various Catholic groups.  Dolan criticized Georgetown, a Jesuit school, for inviting Sebelius, who had a significant role in developing the administration's policies on contraception coverage.

"Well, I do think that's a problem," Dolan said. "Georgetown is the oldest Catholic university in the country. Part of Catholic identity is to be in union with the bishops."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is not welcome in the country that has been the theatre for the longest war in the history of the United States.  

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that aired Monday, Karzai said that Rohrbacher — the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee and a staunch critic of the Karzai government — must walk back previous statements if he ever wants to enter Afghanistan.

"Until he changes his tongue, until he shows respect to the Afghan people, to our way of life and to our constitution ... No foreigner has a place asking another people, another country to change their constitution. Have we ever asked the United States to change its constitution?" Karzai told Blitzer.

Karzai was referring to Rohrbacher's repeated calls for a more decentralized Afghan government.

The latest ABC/Washington Post poll shows President Barack Obama with a narrow 3-point advantage over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in what has been a hyper-competitive introduction to the general election season.

Among registered voters nationwide, the survey found 49 percent intend to vote for Obama in November while 46 plan to support Romney, well within the poll's 4-point margin of error. The poll also confirmed what has been clear all along: the economy will loom large in this race.  

From the Washington Post:

Despite flare-ups over issues including contraception and same-sex marriage, more than half of all Americans cite the economy as the one concern that will decide their vote in the fall, relegating others — such as health care, taxes and the federal deficit — to single-digit status.

More than eight in 10 Americans still rate the national economy negatively, but there are strains of optimism as it continues to recover from the collapse of 2008. A majority of Americans — 54 percent — say they are more hopeful than anxious about the situation over the next few years, while 58 percent are bullish about their financial prospects.

When asked which candidate would do a better job in handling the economy, voters were split: 47 percent give the nod to Obama and 47 percent prefer Romney.  The two candidates are also tied when it comes to creating jobs, with 46 percent of voters saying they trust Obama compared with 45 percent who favor Romney. But the president has the clear upper hand when it comes to relating to voters, with 48 percent saying Obama better understands the economic problems facing people in this country compared with 40 percent who say Romney.  

The PollTracker Average also shows Obama with a razor-thin lead over Romney.   


Appearing on "Morning Joe," former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford (D) said Monday he agrees with Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker, who criticized the Obama campaign's recent attacks on Mitt Romney's time with the private equity firm Bain Capital over the weekend.    

“I would not have backed off the comments if I were Mayor Booker,” Ford, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2006, said on the MSNBC program. “The substance of his comments on ‘Meet the Press,’ I agree with the core of it. I would not have backed them out… private equity’s not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances.”

Real estate mogul and outspoken Mitt Romney supporter Donald Trump said Monday that in the wake of the Obama campaign's sharp attacks on Romney's record with Bain Capital, the former Massachusetts governor should give a second look at the much-publicized Republican strategy to invoke Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  

Appearing on Fox & Friends, Trump called the Obama campaign's new ad that takes aim at Romney's career with the private equity firm "nasty" and "unfair" and said the presumptive Republican nominee should respond in kind.  

"It was a very unfair ad and frankly, if I were Mitt and Mitt is a very honorable guy, he stopped the Reverend Wright ads and he was, you know, sort of opposed to them," Trump told the Fox hosts.  "I'd let him go at it."

A new poll shows an ever-tightening race developing in the Republican Senate primary in Texas.

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey found Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst holding a single-digit lead over tea party upstart Ted Cruz, 40 percent to 31 percent.  Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert polls at 17 percent, while no other candidate in the crowded field breaks the ten-percent threshold.   If no candidate eclipses 50 percent in the May 29 primary, the race will shift to a runoff on July 31.  

Previous polls have shown Dewhurst with a sizable lead over the rest of the field, but the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll may reflect a fast-changing race.  Cruz, the former solicitor general, has won the endorsements of Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).  An upset over Dewhurst would represent a second major victory for the tea party in 2012, after Richard Mourdock upended Sen. Dick Lugar in the Indiana Republican Senate primary earlier this month.  Cruz and Dewhurst are vying to replace incumbent Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), who announced that she will not seek a fourth term.