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 shows the majority of Floridians want no changes to the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, the subject of intense national scrutiny following the February shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

According to the latest release from Mason-Dixon, 65 percent of Florida voters believe that "Stand Your Ground" does not need to be amended.  

But the state is sharply split over the much-publicized shooting, which has stoked a debate over both self-defense laws and race.  Forty-four percent believe George Zimmerman, who is facing second-degree murder chargers for the shooting of Martin, was acting in self-defense, while 40 percent say he wasn't.  Another 16 percent aren't sure.  

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Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's long-awaited vice presidential selection is imminent, The New York Times reports.  

According to The Times, Romney's friends believe the candidate has reached a decision and that the announcement could come as early as this week.  

The report comes amid intense speculation over who will comprise the other half of the Republican ticket — with the likes of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) all thought to be on the short list.  

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Sarah Palin made a grand national introduction at the 2008 Republican National Convention when she accepted the party's vice presidential nomination, but she may not be a part of this year's GOP confab.  Newsweek reports that Palin has yet to receive an invitation to participate at her party's 2012 convention in Tampa, where Mitt Romney will be officially minted as the Republican presidential nominee.

Romney and Palin haven't exactly been close political allies.  Palin's nationwide bus tour rolled through New Hampshire last June on the same day that Romney kicked off his presidential run in the Granite State — a move interpreted by many as one-upmanship on the part of the former Alaska governor 

President Barack Obama holds a slim advantage over Mitt Romney on the economy and a wider lead on foreign policy, according to the latest McClatchy/Marist poll.

Among registered voters nationwide, Obama claims a slight edge over Romney overall, 48 percent to 46 percent.  On the question of which candidate will do a better job handling the economy, the president also holds a 2-point lead over Romney, 46 percent to 44 percent.  Meanwhile, 47 percent say Obama is the better choice to handle foreign policy, while 41 percent prefer Romney.

The PollTracker Average illustrates what has been a consistent trend throughout the presidential campaign: Obama with the clear upper-hand over Romney on foreign policy.

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The presidential race in Florida remains as tight as the national contest playing out between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, a new poll released Saturday shows.

In the latest release from Mason-Dixon, Obama clings to the slimmest of leads over Romney among Sunshine State voters, 46 percent to 45 percent.  Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico who is running for president on the Libertarian ticket, claims 2 percent.  

The addition of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to the Republican ticket has only a negligible effect on Romney's prospects in Florida.  With Romney and Rubio pitted against Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, the GOP challengers edge the Democratic incumbents, 46 percent to 45 percent.  

The PollTracker Average currently shows Florida as a tossup state.  

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Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) holds a 5-point lead in his increasingly tight bid for a third term, according to a new poll released Friday.

In the latest new Mason-Dixon poll, Nelson earns the support of 47 percent of Florida voters, while Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL), who is widely expected to claim his party's nomination in the Aug. 14 primary, trails with 42 percent.  

The PollTracker Average currently shows the race as a tossup. Mason-Dixon conducted its poll July 9-11 using live telephone interviews with 800 registered Florida voters. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.  


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Mitt Romney's campaign on Friday released a new television ad that seeks to highlight President Barack Obama's hypocrisy by resurfacing excerpts from the incumbent's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.  

The ad — titled "What Happened?"— couples clips from Obama's nomination address four years ago in Denver, during which he decried campaign scare tactics, with present-day newspaper headlines that focus on the president's tough attacks against Romney.

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President Barack Obama told CBS News Thursday that Mitt Romney's career at Bain Capital does not disqualify the presumptive Republican nominee, but that experience at the private equity firm doesn't necessarily mean he's qualified to turn around the nation's stagnant economy and job market.

"When some people question why I would challenge his Bain record, the point I've made there in the past is, if you're a head of a large private equity firm or hedge fund, your job is to make money. It's not to create jobs. It's not even to create a successful business - it's to make sure that you're maximizing returns for your investor. Now that's appropriate. That's part of the American way. That's part of the system. But that doesn't necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole, because as president, my job is to think about the workers. My job is to think about communities, where jobs have been outsourced."


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Reacting to the mysterious medical leave by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday that there is no need for the nine-term Congressman to rush back to work.

“I know a lot of people are saying, ‘When is he going to get back to work?’ Why should he get back to work to a Congress that does no work?” Emanuel said. “Why rush it? Last time I checked, Congress had their second repeal of the health care bill. Why rush? Take care of your health. Guess what: Congress is going to be there. Hopefully when you return they’ll be doing real work.”

Jackson's aides announced Wednesday that the represenative, whose district encompasses the South Side of Chicago, is at an undisclosed treatment facility receiving treatment for an unspecified mood disorder.  

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President Barack Obama has a 7-point cushion over Mitt Romney, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center released Thursday.

Fifty percent of registered voters nationwide prefer Obama, compared with 43 percent who plan to vote for Romney. The president has held a lead over Romney in every Pew poll this year. It's also the second consecutive Pew survey that shows Obama polling at 50 percent. In Pew's June survey, Obama edged the presumptive Republican nominee, 50 percent to 46 percent.

Pew also found that Romney has lost ground on the issue that has been central to his campaign: the economy. In June, 49 percent of voters said Romney was the best candidate to improve the nation's beleaguered economy, compared with 41 percent who gave the nod to Obama.

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