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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) on Sunday said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "doesn't know anything about healthcare" and questioned his suitability for higher office.

"Ted Cruz may be a very good politician, but he certainly does not know anything about health care," Dean said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The former governor called Cruz's plan for cross-state health insurance purchasing a "terrible idea," saying he wouldn't want Texas' insurance policies affecting Vermont's universal health care.

"So, these are crazy ideas from the far right," Dean said. "He's a slick spokesman and God help us if he ever does get to be anything more than the senator from Texas."

Watch the segment below, courtesy of CNN:

 

     

The Alabama Republican Party voted Saturday against a proposed rule that would have removed a junior member from its steering committee because of her support of gay marriage, the Associated Press reported.

The measure was aimed at Stephanie Petelos, the chairwoman of the Alabama College Republicans, who had made public comments in support of the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. Petelos told the AP she hopes her ordeal "doesn't scare or shy anyone away from the party."

Bonnie Sachs, an executive committee member who proposed the rule change, told the AP that steering committee members need to serve "in such a way that we don't go to the media with an agenda that we may have." Other committee members said they didn't share Petalos' view on gay marriage, but did respect her First Amendment right to expressing that view.

"We're not the Taliban. We're not the Third Reich," committee member Clay Barclay told the AP.

President Barack Obama met with his National Security Council on Saturday to discuss the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime on Wednesday near Damascus, according to the White House.

Obama received a "detailed review of a range of potential options he had requested be prepared for the United States and the international community to respond to the use of chemical weapons," according to the White House readout of the meeting. Meanwhile, the U.S. intelligence community "continues to gather facts to ascertain what occurred" in the alleged attack. 

Obama also spoke Saturday with British Prime Minister David Cameron about the continued violence in Syria, according to the White House.

Below are listed the participants in the meeting, per the White House readout:

The Vice President

Secretary of State John Kerry

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power

National Security Advisor Susan Rice

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey

Deputy Attorney General James Cole

Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco

Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Benjamin Rhodes

National Security Advisor to the Vice President Jacob Sullivan

This post has been updated.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told attendees at a town hall event this week that although conservatives may disagree with President Barack Obama's policies, it isn't evident the president has committed an impeachable offense, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.

Some attendees at Lee's town hall Wednesday in Spanish Fork, Utah approached the senator with their concerns that Obama violated the law and should be impeached, according to the newspaper. 

Lee, himself a leader in the conservative movement to shut down the federal government as a means of defunding the Affordable Care Act, then told the attendees that it's not evident the president has committed any "high crimes and misdemeanors" up to this point. 

"We're stuck with him," Lee said, as quoted by the Tribune.

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria, who will succeed outgoing Mayor Bob Filner (D) as interim mayor of the city, vowed to clean up the chaos he said Filner had left in city government, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"We have lost ground over the past few months," Gloria said, as quoted by the Times. "As of today, we are done losing ground. San Diego is back."

Gloria said the deal that led to Filner announcing his resignation Friday effectively ended "our civic nightmare," and told the newspaper he would be swift to act on projects that stalled under Filner's leadership.

Filner said Friday as he announced his resignation that he had "no intention to be offensive" to the 18 women who accused him of making inappropriate advances. Filner then defiantly proclaimed he was a victim of a "lynch mob" that removed him "purely through rumor and innuendo."

Attorney General Eric Holder on Saturday reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring voting rights for all eligible Americans, adding that the overall fight for equal rights has broadened to include Latinos, Asian Americans, LGBT individuals, and people with disabilities.

"This morning, we affirm that this struggle must, and will, go on in the cause of our nation’s quest for justice – until every eligible American has the chance to exercise his or her right to vote, unencumbered by discriminatory or unneeded procedures, rules, or practices," Holder told a crowd at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., according to his prepared remarks.

Holder also took time in his speech to thank civil rights activists who marched on Washington in 1963 for "standing up to racist governments and governors," saying that without their sacrifice he wouldn't have the opportunity to be the nation's attorney general.

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said Friday that although he has seen the country make much progress in civil rights since the March on Washington in 1963, there are still "forces all across our country" that seek to challenge the movement.

"If someone had told me 50 years ago that an African-American would be in the White House as the president, I probably would have said you’re crazy. You are out of your mind. You don’t know what you’re talking about," Lewis told MSNBC's Rev. Al Sharpton in an interview at the National Mall, where he addressed crowds 50 years ago. "The country is a different country, and we’re better people."

When asked to compare challenges to the civil rights movement in that era to today, Lewis, a vocal supporter of the Voting Rights Act, said the movement still faces resistance. 

“Forces, not just forces in the American South, but forces all across our country want to take us back to another period and we have to say, ‘We are not going back, we have come too far now to stop,’" he said.  

Watch the interview below, courtesy of MSNBC:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Former Vice President Dick Cheney (R) and his daughter Liz Cheney made a joint appearance at the conservative Steamboat Institute's annual Freedom Conference on Friday, where they expressed disappointment with President Barack Obama's attitude toward national security.

The former vice president, who made national security a priority in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, stressed that the U.S. is still under threat at home.

“The biggest threat facing us are terrorists armed with something more dangerous than plane tickets and box cutters,” Cheney told the sold-out crowd in Steamboat Springs, Colo., as quoted by the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Liz Cheney, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Wyoming, was critical of Obama's attitude toward conflicts on foreign soil. Cheney said that one only has to watch the news on television to see that "the world is worse when America is weak or walks away," according to the newspaper. 

The Cheneys agreed that National Security Agency surveillance programs are in the best interests of national security, but said that a change in leadership is necessary for the country's safety.

“The NSA is a well-run program,” Dick Cheney said, as quoted by the Pilot & Today. “It’s an important program. The president doesn’t concur with a lot of views on national security. But you wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The president is not up to the job and doesn’t have the same core values we do. We shouldn’t limit our defense or defense tools. We just need to beat him in the next election."

City officials said Friday that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) has signed a letter of resignation pending the city council's approval of a settlement proposal in a sexual harassment suit filed against the mayor, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The city council is scheduled to review the proposal in a closed-door meeting at 1 p.m. PST.

President Barack Obama on Friday rejected the notion that the federal government is in the midst of a deficit crisis, arguing that the deficit is actually on a downward trajectory even as the GOP pushes to curb spending in areas like healthcare and education.

"We don't have an urgent deficit crisis. The only crisis we have is one that's manufactured in Washington, and it's ideological," Obama said at a town hall event at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. "And the basic notion is, is that we shouldn't be helping people get health care and we shouldn't be helping kids who can't help themselves and whose parents are under-resourced, we shouldn't be helping them get a leg up."

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