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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

Authorities said they were concerned a Texas couple attempted to hide a firearm after their 3-year-old son accidentally shot himself, leading to the removal of one of the boy's lungs, the River Cities Daily Tribune reported Friday.

Officers in Horseshoe Bay, Texas responded to a call on Sept. 19 referencing a child accidentally shooting himself, according to a release from assistant police Chief Rocky Wardlow. The release states Horseshoe Bay officers recovered a loaded handgun lying on the residence's kitchen table. The boy's parents told police that the child picked up the handgun and it discharged, but refused to let officers search the residence further.

Wardlow's release stated police were concerned the boy's parents attempted to hide the weapon, as officers learned after obtaining a search warrant that the handgun found inside the home was not involved in the incident. Investigators received conflicting accounts of where that weapon was allegedly hid, the release stated.

Investigators located three handguns and a rifle in a neighbor's home, following an account suggesting the boy's mother hid the weapon there, according to the Tribune. The investigation was ongoing.

Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin jumped to the defense of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) Sunday on Twitter after Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said top Republicans had asked him to "hammer" Cruz on air about his strategy to defund Obamacare.

"@FoxNewsSunday Keep it TRULY fair & balanced," Palin wrote. "Release the GOP names encouraging you to trash @SenTedCruz. No more anonymous sources."

Wallace told a panel on "Fox News Sunday" that he was encouraged to go after Cruz for the senator's plan to force a government shutdown if Congress doesn't vote to defund the president's signature health care law. He didn't specify which Republicans reached out to him.

“This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever had in Washington and I say that because as soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz," Wallace said.

Palin, who rejoined Fox News as a paid contributor in June, recently backed the effort to defund Obamacare. Soon after, the former Alaska governor tweeted that it's "time to bomb Obamacare" over what she calls "death panels," which she says could let bureaucrats decide whether old or disabled patients are eligible to receive medical care.

This post has been updated.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her first extended interview since leaving the State Department to New York Magazine, and she had some sharp words for the contingent of Democrats clamoring for a Clinton presidential bid in 2016. 

“I’m not in any hurry,” she told the magazine in a story published Sunday. “I think it’s a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it’s also not one that has to be made soon."

Clinton pointed out that the general election is more than three years away, and said she doesn't think the political process driving such early speculation in the 2016 presidential race is good for the country.

“It’s like when you meet somebody at a party and they look over your shoulder to see who else is there, and you want to talk to them about something that’s really important; in fact, maybe you came to the party to talk to that particular person, and they just want to know what’s next," she said.

Asked if she wrestles with running for president, Clinton said "I do."

"But I’m both pragmatic and realistic," she told the magazine. "I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.”

As President Barack Obama consoled the families of the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting on Sunday, he gave an impassioned defense of tougher gun laws and said the fight to prevent tragedies like the Navy Yard shooting "ought to obsess us."

Speaking at a memorial for Navy Yard victims at the Marine Barracks in Washington, DC, Obama ticked off mass shootings that have taken place over the course of his presidency -- including Fort Hood, Texas, Tucson, Ariz., Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. -- to illustrate the "epidemic" of gun violence he said the nation faces. Those tragedies, he said, should shock the nation into doing something "transformative" to stop the cycle of gun violence.

"Alongside the anguish of these American families, alongside the accumulated outrage so many of us feel, sometimes I fear there’s a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is somehow the new normal," Obama said. "We can't accept this."

The president pointed out that no other advanced countries experience the level of gun violence the U.S. has witnessed, because he said no other country makes it so easy for "dangerous people" to get their hands on a gun. 

"I do not accept that we cannot find a common-sense way to preserve our traditions, including our basic Second Amendment freedoms and the rights of law-abiding gun owners, while at the same time reducing the gun violence that unleashes so much mayhem on a regular basis," he said.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly referred to a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. Sandy Hook was the name of the elementary school where the shooting took place.

President Barack Obama will travel to New York City today for the United Nations General Assembly, according to the White House schedule.

Obama is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in the afternoon. Later in the evening, he is scheduled to participate in several events before hosting visiting heads of state at a U.N. General Assembly reception. The president and the first lady will remain overnight in New York, the White House said.

President Barack Obama on Friday slammed Republican efforts to force a government shutdown if Congress doesn't vote to defund his signature health care law, arguing that members of Congress are slighting their constituents while trying to "mess with" him.

"Unfortunately, right now the debate that's going on in Congress is not meeting the test of helping middle class families. It's just -- they are not focused on you," he said in a speech on the economy in Kansas City, Mo. "They are focused on politics. They are focused on trying to mess with me. They are not focused on you."

The continuing resolution being debated in Congress will fund the government until Dec. 15.

The man wrongly identified as the gunman at the Washington, DC Navy Yard spoke out to the Huffington Post on Friday with a plea to the media that implicated his name in the shooting.

Both CBS and NBC reported briefly Monday that retired Chief Petty Officer Rollie Chance, 50, was identified as the gunman before quickly retracting those reports. 

"I'm looking for something like this not to happen to anyone else," Chance told the Huffington Post. "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I think there needs to be some accountability in reporting. Instead of being the first reporter to have breaking news, you have to have accountability. Verify before you vilify."

Chance, who said he still hadn't left his home since the incident, recounted how he thought it "must be a joke" when a call from ABC News first indicated to him that he was a suspect in the shooting.

Read the interview here.

Bill O'Reilly on Thursday condemned Tea Party-led efforts to defund Obamacare as "fanaticism."

The push to defund the national health care law has created a rift between Republicans in Congress. The House voted 230-189 Friday morning to defund Obamacare while keeping the federal government open through Dec. 15. Senate Republicans said the bill would be dead on arrival in their chamber and urged their House colleagues to stand down in the shutdown fight.

The Fox News host acknowledged that such "fanaticism on the right" is harming the country, and urged lawmakers to responsibly find a way to address their opponents in Congress.

"There's no way Obamacare is going to be defunded," O'Reilly said. "It's not gonna happen. So why bother alienating independent americans by embracing a futile exercise?"

 

     

An Arkansas man was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday for making threats toward an Arizona congressman, including "bashing his teeth in," the Phoenix New Times reported.

Court records state Michael Wayne Cummins called the office of Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) on Aug. 20 to say he would like to assault the congressman.

Barber is a survivor of the 2011 Tucson shooting that seriously wounded former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), whose congressional seat he took over in 2012. Barber was hit by bullets in the face and thigh during the incident, according to the New Times.

"I am not interested in killing Ron, but I am interested in bashing his teeth in and seeing him rot in hell," Cummins told the staff member, as quoted by the newspaper.

The man added the general threat "I am just going to start killing people indiscriminately," and spelled out his name for the staffer as well as his phone number.

Court records show Cummins confessed to making the call when the FBI visited him in Fort Smith, Ark., according to the newspaper. He was then brought to Tucson, Ariz. where he was indicted in federal court for threatening to assault Barber "with intent to impede, intimidate or interfere" with the congressman. 

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