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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

A military judge on Tuesday acquitted Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on charges of aiding the enemy for turning classified government documents over to WikiLeaks, the Associated Press reported. 

Manning was convicted on five counts of espionage, however.

Update:

Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott (R), a gubernatorial candidate for 2014, slammed President Barack Obama's pledge to strengthen the Voting Rights Act in a Washington Times op-ed published Tuesday.

"The Obama administration’s interference in Texas’ redistricting and voter-ID litigation does not protect voting rights. It protects the Democratic Party," Abbott wrote. "Recall that just a few months ago, high-ranking Obama operatives launched a campaign to 'turn Texas blue.'"

"The president’s partisan use of the Voting Rights Act actually hurts many minority voters in Texas," he added, citing a number of Republican state and U.S. reps who won predominantly Hispanic districts in the state in 2010 only to lose to Democrats in 2012 after redistricting.

Obama met with civil rights leaders on Monday to discuss strengthening the Voting Rights Act in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to gut a key provision of the law last month. That decision paved the way for Texas to move forward once again with its controversial voter ID law, which had been struck down in federal court last year as having an unconstitutional impact on poor, minority voters.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) office on Tuesday was quick to criticize a so-called "grand bargain" that President Barack Obama is set to propose during a visit to Tennessee later today, claiming that the president was supporting his own long-held positions rather than striking a deal in good faith with the GOP.

"The President has always supported corporate tax reform," Michael Steel said in a statement. "Republicans want to help families and small businesses, too. This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama's position on taxes and President Obama's position on spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind."

Obama will offer to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for additional job investments to boost the middle class.

 

The Chattanooga Times Free Press published a scathing message for President Barack Obama ahead of his economic speech Tuesday in Tennessee: "take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President." 

The Times Free Press editorial criticized the electric Smart Grid infrastructure that was subsidized by federal stimulus money as "Chattanooga's government-owned electric monopoly."

"You claimed that the Smart Grid would create jobs for Chattanooga," the editorial read. "But in reality, all it did was push America deeper in debt and lure a local government agency into making a terrible financial decision that will weigh on Chattanoogans like a millstone for decades to come."

"So excuse us, Mr. President, for our lack of enthusiasm for your new jobs program," the editorial continued. "Here in Chattanooga we’re still reeling from your old one."

Read the full editorial here.

The super PAC firing up a grassroots network to support a potential 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential bid is due to disclose this week that it has raised more than a million dollars, the New York Times reported Monday.

Ready for Hillary has collected more than a million dollars from donors since it ramped up its fundraising efforts this spring, according to disclosure reports due to be filed with the Federal Election Commission this week and obtained by the Times.

The super PAC, which does not coordinate with Clinton, has already drawn high-profile supporters including Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and James Carville.

An Arkansas school district will arm over 20 faculty members and staff with concealed 9 mm handguns under a state law that allows armed security guards on campus, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. 

Some teachers and school employees in Clarksville, Ark. will undergo 53 hours of training with a private facility, including going through drills that simulate campus shooting scenarios, in order to become licensed guards, according to the AP. Those teachers and employees are also provided with a stipend to purchase their weapons.

The Clarksville district will have signs posted at schools signaling the presence of armed guards, but the identities of which faculty and staff members are carrying handguns will be protected, Superintendent David Hopkins told the AP.

According to Arkansas' Department of Education, no school district in the state had previously made use of the law to arm teachers on campus.

The White House released a photograph Monday of President Barack Obama's lunch with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the daily press briefing that the get-together was not a "working lunch."

"It's largely friendship that's on the agenda today," Earnest said.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Monday that the GOP has a chance to defund Obamacare within 60 days -- if only the GOP establishment would get behind the idea.

"The problem right now is we don't have Republicans willing to stand up and do this," Cruz told the conservative radio program "The Andrea Tantaros Show." "We need 41 Republicans in the Senate or 218 Republicans in the House, to stand together, to join me, to join Mike Lee, to join Marco Rubio, all of whom have said, we will not vote for a single continuing resolution that funds even a penny of ObamaCare."

Cruz told the radio program that he believes some Republicans are too "scared" of the left's criticism that defunding the national health care law entails shutting down the federal government.

"The next step is that Harry Reid and President Obama will scream and yell that the mean, nasty Republicans are trying to shut down the federal government in order to defund Obamacare," he said. "And then what we need to have happen is for Republicans to stand together, for us to say, 'No, we're perfectly happy to fund the federal government.'"

[h/t NBC News]

President Barack Obama issued a statement Monday praising resumed negotiations between Israel and Palestine, while cautioning that the road to peace in the region will be fraught with difficult decisions. 

Full statement, via the White House, below:

I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have accepted Secretary Kerry's invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings. This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead.

 

During my March visit to the region, I experienced first-hand the profound desire for peace among both Israelis and Palestinians, which reinforced my belief that peace is both possible and necessary. I deeply appreciate Secretary Kerry's tireless work with the parties to develop a common basis for resuming direct talks, and commend both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas for their leadership in coming to the table.

 

The most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination. The United States stands ready to support them throughout these negotiations, with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security.

 

I am pleased that Ambassador Martin Indyk will lead the U.S. negotiating team as U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations. Ambassador Indyk brings unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations.

Former Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter announced Monday that he's dropping out of the Arkansas governor's race in order to unite the Democratic Party and avoid a "divisive primary" with former Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR).

Halter said in an email to his supporters that "since we announced our gubernatorial campaign, another strong candidate has entered the primary election, and in order to avoid a divisive primary and to help unite the Democratic Party, I am ending my campaign for Governor."

Halter previously lost a primary runoff against former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) in 2010.

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