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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

American Catholics are feeling a whole lot of goodwill for Pope Francis on his first Christmas as pontiff, according to a new poll.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday showed 88 percent of American Catholics approved of Francis' job as head of the church.

And among the American public in general, nearly three in four have a favorable view of the pontiff, according to the poll. As CNN points out, those figures suggest the Pope is arguably the most well-regarded religious figure among the American public today.

Francis earned the distinction of being named Time Magazine's 2013 Person of the Year for reforming the tone and focus of the Catholic church set by his predecessors. In his nine months as Pope, Francis chided church officials "obsessed" with abortion and gay marriage, spoke out against capitalist economic policies that generate inequality (which earned a shout-out from President Barack Obama and accusations of Marxism from Rush Limbaugh), and possibly snuck out of the Vatican at night to commune with the homeless.

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Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked top-secret documents on mass government surveillance programs to journalists this spring, has declared his mission accomplished.

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Snowden told Barton Gellman, the Washington Post journalist to whom he leaked some of the documents he took from the NSA, in an interview published Monday night.

“I already won," he said. "As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

Snowden spoke with Gellman in Moscow, his first in-person interview since arriving in Russia in June and securing temporary asylum. Gellman described Snowden as "relaxed and animated" over the course of their two-day conversation.

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There's a lot Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to gripe about, from the Washington establishment to the food in the Senate cafeteria.

So in the spirit of Festivus, the secular holiday popularized by "Seinfeld," Paul aired his grievances in a lengthy series of Tweets.

The Kentucky Republican's first grievances were with the Senate's bipartisan budget deal and recent filibuster rules change:

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National Security Adviser Susan Rice doesn't regret appearing on Sunday news programs after the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, even though the subsequent Republican-fueled outcry over what she said that day is believed to have scuttled her chances at being secretary of state.

"I don’t have time to think about a false controversy," Rice said in an interview that aired Sunday on "60 Minutes." "In the midst of all of the swirl about things like talking points, the administration’s been working very, very hard across the globe to review our security of our embassies and our facilities. That’s what we ought to be focused on."

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