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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

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is not welcome in the country that has been the theatre for the longest war in the history of the United States.  

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that aired Monday, Karzai said that Rohrbacher — the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee and a staunch critic of the Karzai government — must walk back previous statements if he ever wants to enter Afghanistan.

"Until he changes his tongue, until he shows respect to the Afghan people, to our way of life and to our constitution ... No foreigner has a place asking another people, another country to change their constitution. Have we ever asked the United States to change its constitution?" Karzai told Blitzer.

Karzai was referring to Rohrbacher's repeated calls for a more decentralized Afghan government.

The latest ABC/Washington Post poll shows President Barack Obama with a narrow 3-point advantage over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in what has been a hyper-competitive introduction to the general election season.

Among registered voters nationwide, the survey found 49 percent intend to vote for Obama in November while 46 plan to support Romney, well within the poll's 4-point margin of error. The poll also confirmed what has been clear all along: the economy will loom large in this race.  

From the Washington Post:

Despite flare-ups over issues including contraception and same-sex marriage, more than half of all Americans cite the economy as the one concern that will decide their vote in the fall, relegating others — such as health care, taxes and the federal deficit — to single-digit status.

More than eight in 10 Americans still rate the national economy negatively, but there are strains of optimism as it continues to recover from the collapse of 2008. A majority of Americans — 54 percent — say they are more hopeful than anxious about the situation over the next few years, while 58 percent are bullish about their financial prospects.

When asked which candidate would do a better job in handling the economy, voters were split: 47 percent give the nod to Obama and 47 percent prefer Romney.  The two candidates are also tied when it comes to creating jobs, with 46 percent of voters saying they trust Obama compared with 45 percent who favor Romney. But the president has the clear upper hand when it comes to relating to voters, with 48 percent saying Obama better understands the economic problems facing people in this country compared with 40 percent who say Romney.  

The PollTracker Average also shows Obama with a razor-thin lead over Romney.   

 

Appearing on "Morning Joe," former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford (D) said Monday he agrees with Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker, who criticized the Obama campaign's recent attacks on Mitt Romney's time with the private equity firm Bain Capital over the weekend.    

“I would not have backed off the comments if I were Mayor Booker,” Ford, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2006, said on the MSNBC program. “The substance of his comments on ‘Meet the Press,’ I agree with the core of it. I would not have backed them out… private equity’s not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances.”


Real estate mogul and outspoken Mitt Romney supporter Donald Trump said Monday that in the wake of the Obama campaign's sharp attacks on Romney's record with Bain Capital, the former Massachusetts governor should give a second look at the much-publicized Republican strategy to invoke Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  

Appearing on Fox & Friends, Trump called the Obama campaign's new ad that takes aim at Romney's career with the private equity firm "nasty" and "unfair" and said the presumptive Republican nominee should respond in kind.  

"It was a very unfair ad and frankly, if I were Mitt and Mitt is a very honorable guy, he stopped the Reverend Wright ads and he was, you know, sort of opposed to them," Trump told the Fox hosts.  "I'd let him go at it."

A new poll shows an ever-tightening race developing in the Republican Senate primary in Texas.

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey found Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst holding a single-digit lead over tea party upstart Ted Cruz, 40 percent to 31 percent.  Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert polls at 17 percent, while no other candidate in the crowded field breaks the ten-percent threshold.   If no candidate eclipses 50 percent in the May 29 primary, the race will shift to a runoff on July 31.  

Previous polls have shown Dewhurst with a sizable lead over the rest of the field, but the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll may reflect a fast-changing race.  Cruz, the former solicitor general, has won the endorsements of Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).  An upset over Dewhurst would represent a second major victory for the tea party in 2012, after Richard Mourdock upended Sen. Dick Lugar in the Indiana Republican Senate primary earlier this month.  Cruz and Dewhurst are vying to replace incumbent Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), who announced that she will not seek a fourth term.  

A new USA Today/Gallup poll out Monday found that Americans are split between President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney when it comes to the three most important economic issues currently facing the United States.  

Over 80 percent of those surveyed in the nationwide poll identified the cost of health care, the federal budget deficit and unemployment as the three most important economic issues today.  

Obama and Romney each have strengths in the three crucial areas.  The president is favored over Romney on the issue of health care costs, 51 percent to 44 percent.  Romney, however, is clearly the preferred candidate on the issue of the federal deficit and debt, with the former Massachusetts besting Obama on that front, 54 percent to 39 percent.  But on the issue of unemployment, so often a metric for the state of this presidential race, the two candidates are tied.  

During a speech Thursday in Chicago, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice insisted that she will not be presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's running mate. 

“Not going to happen,” Rice said. “I love policy, I don’t really love politics."

In recent weeks, Rice has been pegged as a dark horse veep pick for the Republican ticket.  

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $6.9 million in April, eclipsing the fundraising haul by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) by roughly a half million dollars.

The DCCC raised $6.48 million in April and has $25 million in cash on hand.  Conversely, the NRCC has $31.3 million in the bank.  

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