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

After becoming entangled in contradictory messages over the Supreme Court's characterization of the individual mandate as a tax, Mitt Romney's campaign is drawing sharp scrutiny on the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal.  In a scathing editorial published Wednesday evening, the Journal writes that the Romney camp "looks confused in addition to being politically dumb" after the presumptive Republican nominee told CBS that he believes the mandate is a tax, a position at odds with remarks made by senior campaign adviser Eric Ferhnstrom earlier this week.  The piece also takes aim at the lack of specifics put forward by Romney.  

From the Journal:

The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it's Mr. Obama's fault. We're on its email list and the main daily message from the campaign is that "Obama isn't working." Thanks, guys, but Americans already know that. What they want to hear from the challenger is some understanding of why the President's policies aren't working and how Mr. Romney's policies will do better.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is assailing Mr. Romney as an out-of-touch rich man, and the rich man obliged by vacationing this week at his lake-side home with a jet-ski cameo. Team Obama is pounding him for Bain Capital, and until a recent ad in Ohio the Romney campaign has been slow to respond.

Team Obama is now opening up a new assault on Mr. Romney as a job outsourcer with foreign bank accounts, and if the Boston boys let that one go unanswered, they ought to be fired for malpractice.

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Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will make an appearance in the highly anticipated film "The Dark Knight Rises," the AP reports.  

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee reportedly made the cut in a scene involving Christian Bale, who plays Batman, and Morgan Freeman.  For Leahy, the cameo is a reprisal of sorts.  The senator, an avid Batman fan, appeared in the 2008 phenomenon "The Dark Knight."  Leahy's appearance in that movie occurred in a memorable scene during which the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger, crashes a party.  

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is still committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act; he just thinks it might be tough to pull off.

During an appearance Monday at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Ky., McConnell admitted that the prospect of repealing "Obamacare" could be politically impractical, WHAS-TV reports.

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Mitt Romney holds a 5-point edge over President Barack Obama in the coveted swing state of North Carolina, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The poll was conducted June 29-July 1 by SurveyUSA on behalf of Civitas Institute, a conservative organization based in North Carolina.  Romney earns the support of 50 percent of Tar Heel State voters, compared with 45 percent who prefer Obama.  The presumptive Republican nominee enjoys massive support from North Carolina independents, topping Obama among the key voting bloc, 54 percent to 36 percent.

Obama carried North Carolina in 2008 and the selection of Charlotte to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention made it clear that the state figured prominently in the party's electoral outlook.  The PollTracker Average currently shows Romney with a narrow advantage over Obama in North Carolina.  



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The public is divided over the Supreme Court's ruling last week on the Affordable Care Act, while President Barack Obama's health care plans earn significantly higher marks than Mitt Romney's approach to the issue, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted June 28-July 1, examines the high court's decision to uphold virtually all of the law known to most as "Obamacare," as well as the two presidential candidates' health care plans.  Forty-three percent have a favorable view of the Supreme Court's ruling, compared with 42 percent who have an unfavorable view.  

The public is similarly divided when it comes to Obama's approach to health care: 45 percent view the president's plans favorably for the health care system, while 48 percent view them unfavorably.  That's a tepid score, but it's still better than the public's views of Romney's approach to health care.  Only 30 percent view the presumptive Republican nominee's plans for health care favorably, compared with 47 percent who see them unfavorably.  Twenty-three precent have no opinion on Romney's plans for health care, perhaps a reflection of the lack of specifics offered by the former Massachusetts governor.    

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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.

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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.

Watch the video:



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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

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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." 

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