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 clear majority of Americans think opponents of the Affordable Care Act should not try to block the law's implementation, a new poll shows.  

According to the latest survey from Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, 56 percent believe that detractors to the law widely known as "Obamacare" should move on to tackle the nation's other problems, compared with only 38 percent who believe they should continue their efforts to block the law from being implemented. 

Forty-seven percent of respondents in Kaiser's poll approve of the Supreme Court's ruling last week to uphold the health care law, while 43 percent disapprove.  A comparable divide in public opinion appeared in a Monday poll from CNN, which showed that 50 percent of Americans agree with the high court's ruling and 49 percent disagree.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, said Monday that he disagrees with the Supreme Court's characterization of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as a "tax." Pointing to the opinion of the four dissenting justices who "very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax,” Fehrnstrom told MSNBC's Chuck Todd that when the mandate was imposed in Massachusetts under the law signed by Romney, it was a penalty and not a tax.  

 TODD: The governor does not believe the mandate is a tax? That is what you’re saying?

FEHRNSTROM: The governor believes what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the Court’s ruling that it was a tax.

TODD: But he agrees with the president that it is not — and he believes that you should not call the tax penalty a tax, you should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine?

FEHRNSTROM: That’s correct. But the president also needs to be held accountable for his contradictory statements. He has described it variously as a penalty and as a tax. He needs to reconcile those two very different statements.

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F.C. New York, a minor league soccer club based in Long Island, isn't accustomed to being the center of attention.  But that's changed since the team unveiled its politically charged new uniforms.  Thanks to an anonymous donation, the club — which plays in the lower-tier National Premier Soccer League — will don jerseys bearing Mitt Romney's name and campaign slogan, "Believe in America," for the duration of the season.  

In a news release from the club, the donor said, "I love fútbol, I love America, I am a proud Latino-American who believes Mitt Romney needs to be our next president.” 


Photo courtesy of F.C. New York

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D) vetoed a Republican-backed bill on Sunday that would have given the state clearance to pursue natural gas exploration through a controversial process known as "fracking."  

“I support energy policies that create jobs and lower costs for businesses and families,” Perdue said. “Our drinking water and the health and safety of North Carolina’s families are too important; we can’t put them in jeopardy by rushing to allow fracking without proper safeguards.

It marks the third veto of legislation passed by the GOP-controlled legislature over the last week for Perdue, who announced in January that she will not seek re-election this year.

A majority of Hispanics in the United States are self-described indepenents, a new USA Today/Gallup poll shows.  

The results of Monday's survey shows that 51 percent of U.S. Hispanics see themselves as politically independent — vastly eclipsing the number who identify with either of the two major parties.  Thirty-two percent identify themselves as Democrats — although polls routinely show President Barack Obama enjoying considerable leads among Hispanic voters — while 23 percent identify with the Republican Party. 

Although the poll confirms a trend toward political independence among the increasingly influential voting bloc, a majority of Hispanics still identify with the Democratic Party once partisan leanings are cosnidered.  When respondents were dealt a follow-up question, 52 percent are identified as Democrats or "Democratic leaners" — about twice as many as the 23 percent who are identified as Republicans or "Republican leaners." 

Egypt's newly elected president on Friday will address the throngs of demonstrators who have camped out at Tahrir Square in Cairo.  In his speech, Mohamed Morsi will hail his victory as the country's "rebirth." Thoursands of people have gathered at Tahrir Square to protest the military's tight grip on power.   

Very few Americans rank health care as the most important problem facing the country, a new poll from Gallup shows.

A day removed from the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on the Affordable Care Act — the culmination of an extended period when health care consumed much of the country's news coverage — only 6 percent of Americans cite health care as the country's top problem.  

That's a sharp dip since 2009, when Democrats were pushing their health care overhaul through Congress and 26 percent of Americans said it was the nation's top probelm.  The results of the poll may also parallel the lack of political will to revisit the debate over the 2010 law, widely known as "Obamacare." 

One soldier was killed and two others wounded in a shooting Thursday at Fort Bragg, the North Carolina-based U.S. Army installation.  Officials say a soldier shot and killed another member of his unit and then shot and wounded himself.  A third soldier was also wounded in the shooting.  The shooter has been taken into custody.  

The mayor of Colorado Springs, Colo. said Thursday that the wildfire that has ravaged his city for the last six days ranks as the most destructive in the state's history.  President Barack Obama is scheduled to survey the damage and meet with area firefighters in Colorado Springs on Friday.

Americans have grown more confident in their country's medical system since the 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a new poll from Gallup released Thursday.

With the Supreme Court set to rule on the health care overhaul passed by Congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Barack Obama, 41 percent of Americans say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the U.S. medical system — slightly up from the 39 percent who expressed confidence in 2009 and an even larger jump from 2007, when 36 percent said they were confident in the medical system.

According to Gallup, Republicans have consistently demonstrated greater confidence in the U.S. medical system than their Democratic counterparts.  The latest poll shows that 49 percent of Republicans have confidence in the medical system, compared with 44 percent of Democrats.  But Democrats' confidence has steadily risen, increasing by 17 percentage points over the last five years.