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

The BBC reports:

UN monitors are making a second attempt to reach a village in Syria's Hama province where a massacre took place. The observers, who were fired at near to Qubair village on Thursday, left in convoy from Damascus and are now close to the village. 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the massacre, warning of an imminent danger of civil war. Activists say government-backed militia killed 78 people in Qubair, but the regime says terrorists are responsible.


As Democrats open up new attacks against his record as governor of Massachusetts, a new television ad from Mitt Romney's campaign released Friday highlights his time as leader of the Bay State.

The positive ad, titled "Strong Leadership," offers a rosy assessment of Romney's one-term as governor, a clear counter to the Obama campaign's recent effort to highlight the Republican nominee's lackluster jobs record in Massachusetts.  


As the Supreme Court prepares its historic ruling on the Affordable Care Act — also known as "Obamacare" — a new CNN/ORC International poll released Friday shows that Americans are still opposed to the new health care law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2010.

According to the poll, 51 percent of Americans are opposed to the health care law, while 43 percent support the reform.  Those results are consistent with the results of the CNN/ORC poll conducted in March.  The Supreme Court could rule on the constitutionality of the health care law next week.  Interestingly, the poll showed that only one-third of respondents object to the law because it is too liberal — a frequent charge from Republicans.

The TPM Poll Average captures the longstanding opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

Rick Santorum announced Friday during an interview on Fox News Channel the launch of a new website that bills itself as "a grassroots and online community of Americans from across the country committed to promoting faith, family, freedom and opportunity in accordance with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights": PatriotVoices.com.

Santorum told the hosts of "Fox and Friends" that the website will be used to advance conservative causes, which will include assisting the campaign of his erstwhile rival, Mitt Romney.  The former Pennsylvania senator also denied that his endorsement of Romney that came in a late night email last month was not intended as a slight.

"We wanted it to be in their mailbox first thing in the morning so it didn't get buried later in the day," Santorum said.  

A new survey from Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (D) released Thursday shows President Barack Obama remains a safe bet to carry Minnesota in November.  

In the statewide poll, conducted May 31-June 3, Obama holds a big lead over Mitt Romney among Minnesota voters, 54-percent to 39-percent.  Democrats have won Minnesota in every presidential election since 1972, and the results of Thursday's poll indicate that the state will likely not be a battleground in 2012.  

From  Dean Debnam, President of PPP: 

“Minnesota is not going to be a swing state this fall.  Barack Obama’s standing is very solid there right now and it was one of Mitt Romney’s weakest states during the GOP primary season.” 

The TPM Poll Average also shows Obama with a sizable lead over Romney in the North Star State.


A new poll from Monmouth University released Thursday shows President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney locked in a dead-heat among likely voters nationally.

In the nationwide survey, conducted June 4-6, Obama barely edges Romney, 47-percent to 46-percent.  Obama's lead is slightly larger among registered voters: 46-percent to 42-percent.  The poll also shows that roughly two-thirds of voters have heard of private equity or venture capital firms — a flashpoint in the campaign due to the Obama team's recent scrutiny of Romney's career at Bain Capital.  Forty-two percent of American voters believe such firms are good for the economy, compared to only 22-percent who say they are bad.

The TPM Poll Average currently shows Obama with narrow lead over Romney nationally.

The presidential race in Michigan is a toss-up, according to a new poll released Thursday. 

In the latest survey from EPIC-MRA, a Lansing, Mich.-based polling firm, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney barely tops President Barack Obama among likely voters in Michigan, 46-percent to 45-percent.  That margin is well within the poll's margin of error of 4-percent and runs counter to previous surveys of the Great Lakes State.  For example, a survey last month from Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) showed Obama comfortably leading Romney in Michigan, 53-percent to 39-percent.  Although Romney grew up in Michigan, the state is widely viewed as favorable terrain for the president due to the Obama administration's successful restructuring of the U.S. auto industry.

The TPM Poll Average still shows Obama currently with a solid lead over Romney in Michigan.

In an email sent Wednesday night to his supporters, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) conceded that he does not have the requisite number of delegates to claim the Republican Party's presidential nomination, but still urged them to attend the party's convention in Tampa.  Paul projected that there will be "as many as 500" of his supporters in attendance at the August convention, where Mitt Romney will accept the GOP nomination.

"Our delegates' presence must be felt both in Tampa and in years to come," Paul wrote. "Stand up for what we believe in. Be respectful. And let the establishment know that we are the future of the Party and of the country."

(h/t USA Today)


Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, did not rule out the prospect of her husband embarking on a third presidential bid during an interview Thursday on CNN.  The second lady said she "wasn't sure" if the 2012 campaign would be her husband's last.  

"I think Joe would be a great president. I supported him twice. In 1987, I was out there campaigning. The last election I was out there campaigning. Of course, Barack must have thought he would be a good president, too, or he wouldn't have chosen him as vice president," Jill Biden told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.  



Bloomberg reports

China cut interest rates for the first time since 2008, stepping up efforts to combat a deepening economic slowdown as Europe’s worsening debt crisis threatens global growth.

The benchmark one-year lending rate will drop to 6.31 percent from 6.56 percent effective tomorrow, the People’s Bank of China said on its website today. The one-year deposit rate will fall to 3.25 percent from 3.5 percent. Banks can also offer a 20 percent discount to the benchmark lending rate, the PBOC said, widening from a previous 10 percent.