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

Amid renewed birtherism from Donald Trump, a spokesman for President Barack Obama's campaign Friday called on Mitt Romney to stand up to "the extreme voices in his party."

In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, Ben LaBolt, press secretary for the Obama campaign, took aim at Romney's associations with Trump.

"Donald Trump has become the birther in chief," LaBolt said. "I can put the president's birth certificate on my forehead and Mr. Trump wouldn't accept that the president was born here in the United States. And it raises a question that's come up before during this campaign as to whether Governor Romney will embrace the extreme voices in his party or stand up to them."

Trump will be collaborating with the Romney campaign on a fundraising contest, while also appearing with the presumptive Republican nominee at an event in Las Vegas on Tuesday.  The controversial real estate mogul insisted that Obama was born in Kenya in an interview with The Daily Beast released today.

In a typically candid interview with The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove, Donald Trump demonstrated that he is still very much in the vanguard of the birther movement.

From Grove's piece:

“A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book,” Trump went on, “he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital.”

Actually, Obama’s literary agency at the time, two decades ago, published a recently discovered catalogue of clients and their projects that included erroneous information about Obama and a prospective book about race that he ended up not writing. An agency assistant back then, Miriam Goderich, said last week that she was mistaken when she wrote that Obama was born in Kenya.

But Trump isn’t buying it.

“That’s what he told the literary agent,” Trump insisted. “That’s the way life works… He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said… He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia… Now they’re saying it was a mistake. Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.”

The interview poses a problematic situation for Mitt Romney, whose campaign just announced a fundraising contest and a Las Vegas event that will both be held in collaboration with the real estate magnate.  

Dan Lijenquist, the Republican primary challenger to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, debuted a new campaign ad Friday that takes aim at the longtime incumbent's votes in the U.S. Senate.

In the spot, aptly titled "Record," Lijenquist slams Hatch for supporting federal bailouts and the much-maligned "Bridge to Nowhere."   Lijenquist, a former state senator, is looking to duplicate the success of fellow tea party upstart Richard Mourdock, who defeated six-term incumbent Sen. Richard Mourdock in a Republican primary in Indiana earlier this month.


A federal judge in California ruled Thursday that same-sex partners must be given equal access to the state's public employee pension system, striking down a provision within the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  

DOMA, a law passed in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, defines marriage as "a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife," which would limit the ability of same-sex spouses of state workers to obtain insurance.  U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken declared that unconstitutional, writing that there was no proof that the law "rationally related to a legitimate government interest."

The Obama administration announced last year that the Justice Department will no longer defend DOMA in court.  

A typical CEO at a public company earned $9.6 million last year, according to a new study from The Associated Press.  That figure amounts to a 6 percent jump from the previous year.   

South Sudan, a state that ceded from Sudan in 2005 and achieved full independence last July, has been granted full membership in FIFA, world soccer's governing body.

Delegates overwhelmingly voted to admit the newly independent state at FIFA's annual congress Friday, a move that will make South Sudan eligible for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.  South Sudan is the 209th member of FIFA.     

President Barack Obama has tapped a critic of Yucca Mountain to serve as chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, setting the stage for what is sure to be a contentious confirmation proceeding in the Senate.

Allison Macfarlane, a professor at George Mason University, was selected Thursday by the Obama administration to head the commission.  She has written extensively and critically of Yucca Mountain, the nation's nuclear dump located 90 miles north of Las Vegas.

After a tense Republican nomination contest that bordered on hostile at times, Newt Gingrich said he bears no ill-will toward former rival and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

In an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews Thursday, Gingrich said Romney showed his political mettle in the campaign, particularly when the contest shifted to Florida in late January.

“Mitt Romney did what he had to do to become the nominee,” Gingrich said. “He’s worked at this six years…When he got to the crunch, he was tough enough and smart enough to beat me in Florida." 

In an appearance on CNN Thursday, former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman dismissed Mitt Romney's tough talk on China as "typical" campaign rhetoric.

Romney's campaign claimed that the presumptive Republican nominee would "stand up to China on trade" in a new ad released this week.  Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to China, suggested Romney's tone would likely change after entering office.

"This is a typical trajectory, where during a campaign season you're going to talk about China in ways that you're hearing today," Huntsman told CNN's Erin Burnett.  "Then you get in office."  

The candidate representing Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has advanced to a run-off in the country's first legitimate presidential election.

According to partial results from Friday's vote, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi will face former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in a June run-off.  The election is the result of last year's uprising that ultimately led to the undoing of leader Hosni Mubarak.