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

Native Americans offended by Elizabeth Warren's claims of Native American heritage will stage a silent protest against the Massachusetts Senate hopeful Saturday at the state's Democratic Convention in Springfield, Mass., the Boston Herald reports.  The protest is being spearheaded by the aptly named group, “Cherokees Demand Truth from Elizabeth Warren.”

Ed Gillespie, senior campaign adviser to Mitt Romney, was pressed by MSNBC's Chuck Todd Friday to clarify how the Republican nominee would handle policy with Russia differently than President Barack Obama.  Gillespie said that Romney will work with European allies to improve U.S. relations with Russia, which he argued have grown frostier since Obama took office.

"I think that Russia understands that when there's a strong president who can work with Germany, our allies in Europe and France, you can get better results with Russia if you have strong allies in Europe," Gillespie said. "They'll respond to that."

President Barack Obama will travel to Chicago and Minneapolis today for a total of six fundraisers, the most his campaign has hosted in one day.  The Obama team anticipates a fundraising haul of more than $7.2 million.  

From CNN:

The 17-nation eurozone's unemployment rate reached the highest level since the creation of the common currency 13 years ago, climbing to 11% in April as employers slashed 110,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate in the broader 27-nation area that makes up the European Union rose to 10.3% in April, as employers trimmed 102,000 jobs from their payrolls. That was highest EU unemployment rate on records that go back to 2000.

Massachusetts Senate aspirant Elizabeth Warren (D) fired back at Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) on Thursday, writing in a statement that the Republican incumbent should apologize for suggesting that Warren's parents were dishonest when they informed her of the family's Native American heritage.  

Warren has not provided any documentation of her heritage, but instead has said that she learned of her ancestry through family lore.  On Thursday, Brown quipped to reporters, “My mom and dad have told me a lot of things, too, but they’re not always true.”  

From Warren's statement:

"Scott Brown's comments about my parents are totally out of line. I resent him questioning their honesty. My mother and father are not here to defend themselves and should be off limits. Don and Pauline Herring are not fair game and Scott Brown should apologize."


Reuters reports:

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan authorized $20,000 payments to a handful of sexually abusive priests so they would immediately leave the Milwaukee archdiocese when Dolan was archbishop there nearly a decade ago, a church spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) first announced the payments on Wednesday upon discovering minutes of a March 2003 meeting of the Milwaukee archdiocese finance council meeting. SNAP is demanding full disclosure of all such payments.

A new poll from the Seattle-based consulting firm Strategies 360 shows President Barack Obama with a comfortable 11-point advantage over Mitt Romney in Washington, while the gubernatorial contest there remains close.  

In the statewide survey of likely voters, conducted May 22-24, 51 percent say they intend to vote for Obama, while 40 percent prefer Romney.  The two candidates running in the state's governor's race are about even, according to the poll.  Republican Rob McKenna, Washington's two-term attorney general, bests Democrat and former U.S. House Rep. Jay Inslee, 43 percent to 39 percent.

The TPM Poll Average currently shows McKenna with a comparable lead over Inslee.  


In an interview with BuzzFeed, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on the United States to help build a "coalition of the willing" in an effort to take down President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime in Syria has levied a brutal crackdown over the last week against rebels who have led the bloody uprising.  Rubio's choice of words harkens back to the build-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when Bush administration officials used the phrase to tout broad support for the war even as many allies took a pass on joining the American military engagement.

"The US is indispensable [in] increasing a Coalition of the Willing, for lack of a better term," Rubio said. The goal of the partnership is to create "that safe operating space where Syrians that desire freedom are able to organize themselves and create a cohesive political and military positioning,” he said.  The junior senator from Florida, however, declined to call for direct U.S. military action in Syria.

Ex-Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010 after serving on the court for 35 years, issued a sharp criticism toward his former conservative colleagues Wednesday.

In a speech at the University of Arkansas, Stevens took aim at the court's conservative bloc for inconsistently applying the law in its controversial decision on campaign finance reform in the 2010 case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.  Stevens wrote a blistering dissent in that case, and on Wednesday he revisited the decision that gave outsized influence to corporations, advocacy groups and wealthy individuals in political campaigns. 

"The court must then explain its abandonment of, or at least qualify reliance upon, the proposition that the identity of the speaker is an impermissible basis for regulating campaign speech," Stevens told the audience. "It will be necessary to explain why the First Amendment provides greater protection for some nonvoters than that of other nonvoters.

(h/t CNN)