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

At least 34 members of Congress, including current House Speaker John Boehner, recast their financial portfolios after meetings with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, his successor Timothy Geithner or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the Washington Post reports.  

The meetings and portfolio rearrangements took place in January 2008, when then-President George W. Bush was negotiating with Capitol Hill over a $150 billion stimulus package to stave off an emerging financial crisis.  

From the Post's report:

The lawmakers, many of whom held leadership positions and committee chairmanships in the House and Senate, changed portions of their portfolios a total of 166 times within two business days of speaking or meeting with the administration officials. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 19 to 15.

The period covered by The Post analysis was a grim one for the U.S. economy, and many people rushed to reconfigure their investment portfolios. The financial moves by the members of Congress are permitted under congressional ethics rules, but some ethics experts said they should refrain from taking actions in their financial portfolios when they might know more than the public.

Half of Americans say that, regardless of who wins the 2012 presidential election, the outcome will have virtually no impact on the nation's beleaguered economy, according to a new poll released Monday.

As President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney seek to dinstinguish themselves based on their respective economic visions, the latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows that 6 in 10 Americans believe the winner of the election will have little to no impact on the nation's unemployment rate.  

A clear majority of respondents — 55 percent — say that the eventual winner in November will have "just some impact" or "no impact" on the nation's budget deficit.  Continuing the sense of pessimism that pervades the survey, only 32 percent believe the economy will improve over the course of the next year.

Latino registered voters identify health care as the top policy issue and overwhelmingly prefer President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, according to a new poll released Monday.

The latest USA Today/Gallup poll — a survey conducted over a month from mid-April until late May with a sample of 1,005 registered voters — shows that 21 percent of Latinos say health care is the most important issue to them, while 19 percent regard unemployment as the top area of concern.  Twelve percent pegged immigration, a policy area thrust back into the spotlight since Obama's directive announced earlier this month to halt the deportation of some young undcoumented immigrants, as the most important issue.  

The precedence given to health care among Latino voters may at least partly explain why Obama spoke extensively about the Affordable Care Act — colloquially known as Obamacare — during his address at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference last week.

Obama's massive lead over Romney among Latino voters — 66 percent to 25 percent — is comparable to the president's level of support among the burgeoning voting bloc in the 2008 election.  The PollTracker Average likewise shows that Obama has consistently held a considerable lead over Romney among Latino voters throughout the current campaign.



President Barack Obama's campaign is urging supporters to partake in the LGBT-centric events taking place across the country this weekend in conjunction with the annual "Pride" celebration.  A directory on the campaign's website allows users to find Pride festivals near them, while offering a reminder of the president's early May endorsement of same-sex marriage.


Jerry Sandusky's stoic reaction to the slew of guilty verdicts served as "confirmation" of his wrongdoing, a juror in the child sex abuse trial of the former Penn State assistant football coach told NBC.

In an appearance on "TODAY" Saturday, Joshua Harper said Sandusky displayed "no real emotion, just kind of accepting because he knew it was true."  Sandusky was found guilty late Friday evening on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse.

Only 34 percent of Americans correctly identify President Barack Obama as a Christian, according to a new poll from Gallup released Friday. 

Most respondents — 44 percent — were unsure of the president's religious denomination, but the poll also reflects the staying power of a conspiracy theory that has followed Obama since he emerged on the national stage.  According to Gallup, 11 percent of Americans believe he is a Muslim.

The openly gay daughter of Dick Cheney has married her longtime partner, The Daily Caller reports.

Mary Cheney and Heather Poe reportedly married Friday in Washington, D.C.  In a statement provided to The Daily Caller, the former vice president and his wife, Lynn, celebrated their daughter's nuptials.

“Mary and Heather have been in a committed relationship for many years, and we are delighted that they were able to take advantage of the opportunity to have that relationship recognized,” the Cheneys said. “Mary and Heather and their children are very important and much loved members of our family and we wish them every happiness.”

President Barack Obama's public support of same-sex marriage had a negligible effect on public opinion, a new poll released Friday shows.

The latest installment from AP/Gfk shows a sharp split among Americans on the issue: 40 percent support laws allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 42 percent are opposed.  That is little different than many other polls, which have also shown that the country remains divided on the matter — even as trends have suggested that support for same-sex marriage is steaidly growing.  For example, a poll by AP/Gfk showed that 42 percent of Americans were in favor a law permitting gay and lesbian couples to marry, while 45 percent were opposed.

But even if Obama's endorsement did not trigger a sweeping shift in public opinion, it is clear that his support for same-sex marriage will likely not jeopardize his prospects for re-election.  Friday's poll shows 52 percent trust Obama to handle social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, compared with 36 percent who prefer Romney — virtually the same level of support the president enjoyed on that front in AP/Gfk's survey conducted in early May, a week before his historic announcement.


Reuters reports:

A nephew of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein who is wanted by Iraq for membership of a terrorist organization has claimed asylum in Austria saying he feared persecution, Austria's interior ministry said on Friday.

A spokesman for the ministry said the 42-year-old man, whom they named only as Bashar N., had been detained without identity documents on Thursday in the Austrian town of Traiskirchen, a well-known center for asylum-seekers since the Cold War, along with two other people.

Bashar N. has been on an Iraqi wanted list since 2006, the spokesman said, but added that he was not under arrest. His identity was established by fingerprints.