Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at

Articles by Catherine

Eight protesters were reportedly arrested outside the Wisconsin state Senate chambers on Thursday after attempting to deliver coat hangers to Republican politicians who supported a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion, according to the Capital Times.

A representative from the group of about two dozen protesters, Kelley Albrecht, told the Capital Times that representatives from the offices of two state senators, the state assembly speaker and Gov. Scott Walker (R) refused the coat hangers. Afterward, she said, the group tried to gain access to the Senate chambers where lawmakers were debating the state budget but were locked out by staffers. Police arrested eight individuals outside the chambers and charged them with disorderly conduct, according to protester Peter Adamczak.

Protesters used the coat hanger, a symbol of illegal abortions, to draw attention to the bill, which would require women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound and be told what the ultrasound shows. The bill's critics argued that for a woman less than eight to 12 weeks pregnant, that procedure would likely require a transvaginal ultrasound even though the bill doesn't mandate one.

“This bill has nothing to do with abortion,” Albrecht, who once had to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound because of pregnancy complications, said. “It has to do with controlling women.”

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday that if the yet-to-be-filed Corker-Hoeven border security deal was to succeed, it "would constitute a breakthrough." 

When a reporter asked during Carney's daily press briefing why more agents at the borders would be necessary if, as the administration had previously boasted, border security and deportations were at their highest level ever, Carney replied that more work could be done.

"The president included as one of his essential priorities that had to be part of comprehensive immigration reform for him to sign it would be measures that further enhance our border security," he added. "More work needs to be done."

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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said on the House floor Thursday that a conversation should be initiated about cutting food stamp programs because taxpayers are funding beneficiaries' purchases of gourmet foods -- like king crab legs.

The farm bill that was later voted down in the House of Representatives Thursday would have cut $2 billion in assistance to low-income Americans who benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Gohmert said his "brokenhearted" constituents frequently tell him stories lamenting their inability to pay for fancy groceries while they see food stamp beneficiaries purchase gourmet food at the supermarket.

“Because he does pay income tax, he doesn’t get more back than he pays in, he is actually helping pay for king crab legs when he can’t pay for them for himself,” Gohmert said.

"We don’t want anyone to go hungry," Gohmert added, "and from the amount of obesity in this country by people who we’re told do not have enough to eat, it does seem like we could have a debate about this issue without allegations about wanting to slap down or starve children.”

[h/t Raw Story]

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) office declined Friday to say whether the governor was aware he was allegedly targeted by a self-identified Klansman's "death ray machine" plot.

"We don't comment on matters related to the governor's security," Cuomo's press secretary, Matt Wing, told TPM.

The self-described Klu Klux Klan member who allegedly designed a truck-mounted radiation death ray to sell to Jewish groups had New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) among his targets, the New York Daily News reported Friday. 

A federal complaint filed in Albany against Glen Crawford, an industrial mechanic at General Electric Co., alleged that he was planning to use the mobile radiation device on a Muslim group, a political party and an unnamed "political figure." Anonymous sources told the Daily News that the political figure was Cuomo, although the governor's name did not appear in the complaint.

The Illinois GOP official who sent an email describing a black female congressional candidate as a "street walker" resigned Thursday after his remarks drew national attention and a rebuke from the Republican National Committee chairman, the St. Louis-Dispatch reported.

Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Jim Allen, a supporter of Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), drew the ire of the likes of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus for a disparaging email he sent Republican News Watch about former Miss America Erika Harold, who will challenge Davis in the 2014 primary race. Allen wrote that Harold is a "love child of the D.N.C.” who is being "used like a street walker" to take the congressional seat from Davis.

Allen told the Springfield State Journal-Register on Wednesday, after his e-mail was published on Republican News Watch, that his comments were “very inappropriate and wrong, and I apologize to Miss Harold and her campaign and her supporters.”

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A Hew Hampshire state representative resigned Thursday after alleging that the Boston Marathon bombing was a government conspiracy, WMUR reported.

State Rep. Stella Tremblay (R) sent in her letter of resignation to the New Hampshire House of Representatives a day after she sent an e-mail blast to colleagues with links to Boston Marathon bombing conspiracy blogs and videos.

"Have you seen ANY main stream media doing a follow-up on these stories? I have not. I just connect the dots," wrote Tremblay in the e-mail, according to WMUR. "Apparently, it is very dangerous to seek truth, or ask questions."

Tremblay first floated her theory that the marathon bombings were planted by the government to sideline civil liberties in April. Her colleagues in the House responded by voting to fully rebuke her remarks.

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Paula Deen dropped a scheduled interview with the "Today Show" on Friday following reports that she's facing a discrimination suit.

"Today Show" host Matt Lauer told viewers that he spoke with Deen Thursday to arrange the exclusive interview. Deen's publicist later told the program that although Deen flew to New York, she was too exhausted from traveling to make the appearance. The publicist told Lauer Deen is "in the hotel."

The Food Network chef gave a videotaped deposition for the lawsuit last month in which she outlined her vision for a "southern style wedding" for her brother, complete with a wait staff of "middle-aged black men" in crisp suits and bow ties. Deen also admitted to using the N word in a non-"mean way."

The Food Network said in a statement that it will "continue to monitor the situation."  

Here's video of Lauer addressing the Deen interview: 

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This post has been updated.

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The blind Chinese activist recently let go by the American university that offered him a fellowship had been presented with electronics loaded with spying software, Reuters reported Friday.

New York University technicians found software designed to spy on Cheng Guangcheng loaded on an iPad and smartphone gifted to the dissident after he arrived in Manhattan, his mentor, NYU Professor Jerome Cohen, told Reuters.

The devices, given to Guangcheng by the wife of fellow Chinese activist-in-exile Bob Fu, were screened by technicians within days of their receipt. An unnamed source told Reuters the technicians found secret GPS software on one of the devices, which gave it tracking device capabilities, as well as software that backed up the device's contents to a remote server. Although Cohen and the unnamed source believe the software was installed deliberately, Reuters could not establish whether there may be a more innocent explanation for its presence. 

Fu told Reuters the allegations were "ridiculous" and "a 007 thing."

The spyware incident surfaced soon after Guangcheng accused NYU of ending his fellowship over pressure from China, where it is opening a campus in Shanghai this fall. NYU has denied that allegation and claims Guangcheng's fellowship was only slated to last a year.

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Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), famous for his Iowa "scream speech" in the 2004 presidential primary race, said Thursday that he'd consider running for the chief executive's office again.

"I am not driven by my own ambition," Dean told CNN in an interview at the left-leaning activist Netroots Nation conference. "What I am driven by is pushing the country in a direction that it desperately needs to be pushed; pushing other politicians who aren't quite as frank as I am who need to be more candid with the American people about what needs to happen. I am not trying to hedge, it's a hard job running. It's really tough. I am doing a lot of things I really enjoy. But you should never say never in this business."

Dean said he was sure that if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were to run in 2016 she would face challengers like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) or Maryland Gov. Michael O'Malley (D), but also acknowledged that the Democratic Party may raise an eyebrow if he were to announce his own bid.

"If you had to put a gun to my head and make me decide right now, I wouldn't," Dean said. "But who knows?"

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