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 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.

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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)


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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.  



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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.

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Reuters reports:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday the United States was reaching the limits of its patience with Pakistan because of the safe havens the country offered to insurgents in neighbouring Afghanistan.

It was some of the strongest language used by a U.S. official to describe the strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.

"It is difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan," said Panetta, speaking in the Afghan capital Kabul where he arrived for talks with military leaders amid rising violence in the war against the Taliban and a spate of deadly attacks, including a NATO air strike said to have killed 18 villagers.


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A new poll from Quinnipiac University released Thursday shows President Barack Obama holding a 5-point lead over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Virginia.  

The poll shows the president earning the support of 47-percent of registered voters in the Commonwealth, while Romney trails with 42-percent.  Romney's support is unchanged since Quinnipiac's previous poll of Virginia in March, while Obama is slightly down from the 50-percent level of support he enjoyed in that poll.  The latest survey, which was conducted May 30-June 4, also shows that the addition of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to the GOP ticket does not help Romney cut into Obama's 5-point edge.  Obama is buoyed by strong support from Virginia's women voters, who prefer the president over Romney in Thursday's poll, 51-percent to 35-percent.   

Obama won Virginia over Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008, becoming the first Democrat to carry Old Dominion in a presidential election since 1964.  The TPM Poll Average currently shows Obama narrowly edging Romney there.

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President Barack Obama will head to Los Angeles this evening for the LGBT Leadership Council Gala, an event that is expected to draw 600 people.  Tickets for the event, which will include remarks from Ellen DeGeneres, start at $1,250 per person.  A private, $25,000 per plate dinner will follow the gala at the home of Ryan Murphy, creator of the hit television show, "Glee."  

Before traveling to Los Angeles, Obama will headline a pair of fundraisers Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco.  

A new Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday shows former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon winning handily over former U.S. House Rep. Chris Shays in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Connecticut, 59 percent to 30 percent.  

The results of Wednesday's survey show a dramatic change in the race since Quinnipiac's March poll, which showed McMahon with a smaller nine-point advantage over Shays.  Shays, who represented Connecticut's 4th Congressional District, has won the endorsement of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).  McMahon, whose husband Vince is the chairman and CEO of World Wresting Entertainment, lost to Democrat Richard Blumenthal in the 2010 U.S. Senate Race in Connecticut.  

The Republican nominee will likely face U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy (D-CT), who holds a comfortable lead over his lone Democratic challenger in the Quinnipiac Poll.  According to the poll, Murphy holds a slim three-point lead over McMahon in a hypothetical general election matchup, 46 percent to 43 percent.  Both parties will hold their primaries on August 14.

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A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Virginia's U.S. Senate race remains one of the most competitive contests in the 2012 election cycle, with former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine nursing a narrow one-point advantage over ex-Sen. George Allen, 44 percent to 43 percent.  

The results of the Quinnipiac survey mesh with the TPM Poll Average, which also shows Kaine barely edging Allen.


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