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

Over the course of the campaign, Mitt Romney has tried to show his lighter side by invoking a famous line by George Costanza, the short, stocky, bald character from "Seinfeld," played by Jason Alexander.  Romney turned to the quote again when he was introduced before last night's debate: "As George Costanza would say: when they're applauding, stop."

That got the attention of Alexander, who took to Twitter early this morning to fire back at the former Massachusetts governor with a snarky retort. "Thrilled Gov. Romney enjoys my old character," Alexander wrote. "I enjoyed the character he used 2 b 2. If he'd embrace that again, he'd b a great candidate."

The latest AP-Gfk poll serves as further confirmation that Barack Obama has emerged as the early frontrunner in the 2012 presidential election, with the survey showing the president topping all four potential Republican general election opponents.  

In the nationwide survey of adults. Obama breaks the 50 percent threshold in every hypothetical general election matchup, perhaps most importantly against his two most likely GOP challengers.  The president bests Mitt Romney, 51 percent to 43 percent, and Rick Santorum, 52 percent to 43 percent. 

Boosted by recent good economic news and a contentious Republican nomination battle, Obama has held an advantage over Romney in our TPM Poll Average since the beginning of the new year. 

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Even in the midst of Newt Gingrich's campaign steep fall since his decisive victory in the South Carolina primary last month, the former House Speaker has taken solace in his seemingly strong standing in states like Georgia, a state he served in public office for twenty years.  But a new InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research poll of the Peach State shows that Gingrich's southern strategy is also suffering.

The statewide survey of likely Georgia primary voters shows Gingrich clinging to a small lead in his home state with 25.9 percent support, while Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum poll at 23.9 percent and 22.8 percent respectively.  Ron Paul comes in fourth with 11.7 percent.  

The timing of the poll couldn't be worse for Gingrich, who on Sunday said that a loss in one's home state reflects "a very, very badly weakened candidacy."  Georgia is one of 11 states holding its primaries or caucuses on March 6 (widely known as "Super Tuesday"), a day that Gingrich hopes will resuscitate his flagging campaign. 


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In the latest sign that Mitt Romney's road to the Republican presidential nomination could get rocky, a new PPP (D) survey shows the former Massachusetts governor nursing a razor-thin lead over Rick Santorum in Arizona.  Like Michigan, the Grand Canyon State's winner-take-all primary will be held on February 28, a potentially watershed day in the GOP's race for president.

PPP's statewide survey of likely Arizona primary voters shows Romney narrowly edging Santorum, 36 percent to 33 percent. Newt Gingrich claims the support of 16 percent of respondents, while Ron Paul comes in fourth with 9 percent. 

Many viewed Arizona as a buffer for Romney against a potential setback in Michigan, where he was born and raised. 

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Speaking at a town hall-style event at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, Newt Gingrich mocked the Obama Administration's promotion of smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles.

"Let me start from a simple premise that Oklahomans will understand: you cannot put a gun rack in a Volt," Gingrich said. 

While his controversial Super Bowl ad may prove to be a liability in the general election, former Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra remains the prohibitive favorite to claim his party's nomination in the United States Senate race in Michigan. 

A new poll conducted by the Glengariff Group and comissioned by The Detroit News, WDIV-TV and WZZM-TV shows Hoekstra dominating his GOP rivals. In the statewide survey of likely Republican primary voters, Hoekstra claims the support of 50.2 percent of respondents. No other candidate eclipses the five percent threshold.

A PPP (D) survey released earlier this week showed Democratic incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow holding a commanding lead over Hoekstra, with many respondents giving the congressman's television ad unfavorable reviews. 

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The latest Public Policy Polling (D) survey of Michigan shows President Barack Obama on solid footing in the Wolverine State. 

Obama tops all four Republican presidential candidates by wide margins in the statewide poll's general election matchups. Perhaps most notably, the survey shows the president outpolling Mitt Romney, who was born and raised in Michigan, 54 percent to 38 percent. The PPP survey dovetails with several other polls out of Michigan released this week, which have shown Rick Santorum asserting himself as the favorite to win the primary in Romney's erstwhile stomping ground. 

Obama has clearly been bolstered by the successful bailouts of the U.S. automotive industry, as evidenced by the 53 percent of PPP's respondents who said the president has been "good for Michigan's economy." The TPM Poll Average also shows Obama building a comfortable lead over Romney in Michigan, where the two were within five percentage points of each other as recently as December.



PPP surveyed 560 registed voters in Michigan between February 10 and 12. The poll has a margin of error of 4.14 percent. 

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A new Rasmussen survey shows the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico could shape up to be one of the tightest contests of the year.  Former Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) is running neck-and-neck against each of her most likely Democratic foes.

In the matchup between Wilson and state auditor Hector Balderas, both claim the support of 44 percent of respondents. Wilson is edged by U.S. House Rep. Martin Heinrich 45 percent to 43 percent in the poll's other matchup. The seat is being vacated by incumbent Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D),  

Chuck Norris, the action movie star and conservative celebrity, has penned an editorial for WND in which he details why he opted to endorse Newt Gingrich over Rick Santorum.

In the piece, titled "Why I Chose Newt Over Santorum," Norris questions the wisdom of Santorum's 2008 endorsement of Mitt Romney. "Why an alleged conservative like Santorum would fight for the flip-flopping Massachusetts moderate on the presidential campaign trail, especially in light of the fact that [Mike] Huckabee and even [John] McCain were running then with a much clearer conservative record, I will never know," Norris writes.

Norris endorsed and campaigned with Mike Huckabee during the 2008 presidential campaign. 

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Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) says he hopes the Obama administration will find a compromise in the current controversy over the contraception mandate. 

In a statement, Kerry said, "I think the Administration is working towards a final rule that reflects a reasonable compromise. I think there's a way to protect everybody's interest here. I think you can implement it effectively in a way that protects women's access, but at the same time protects people's religious beliefs, and that should be everyone’s goal."

As TPM reported earlier today, there is already a burgeoning group of Democrats who have countered the administration on the increasingly controversial issue.

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