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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

CNN Films canceled a documentary on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after the film's director quit the project, a spokesperson told Politico on Monday.

"Charles Ferguson has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton," CNN Worldwide spokesperson Allison Gollust told the publication. "Charles is an Academy Award winning director who CNN Films was excited to be working with, but we understand and respect his decision."

"[W]e won't seek other partners and are not proceeding with the film," she continued.

Ferguson wrote in the Huffington Post that he approached over a hundred people for interviews over the course of making the documentary. After being stonewalled by all but two people who had dealt with Clinton, he wrote that he "couldn't make a film of which I would be proud."

The director of CNN's documentary on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Monday that he was quitting the project after being stonewalled by both Democrats and Republicans during filming.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Charles Ferguson said he wasn't put off by the Clinton inner circle's silence. It did surprise him, however, when "prominent Democrats made it known both to CNN and to me that they weren't delighted with the film." 

Ferguson wrote: 

I would have loved to explore all this. But when I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans -- and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration. Not even journalists who want access, which can easily be taken away. I even sensed potential difficulty in licensing archival footage from CBN (Pat Robertson) and from Fox. After approaching well over a hundred people, only two persons who had ever dealt with Mrs. Clinton would agree to an on-camera interview, and I suspected that even they would back out.

 

This, of course, was the real consequence, and probably the real intent, of the announcements by the RNC, Philippe Reines, and David Brock. Neither political party wanted the film made. After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn't make a film of which I would be proud. And so I'm cancelling.

The Republican National Committee voted in August to shut CNN and NBC out of the 2016 Republican presidential primary debates as long as those networks moved forward with pending film projects about Clinton. It was unclear whether CNN would try to find another director for the documentary.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said in an interview that aired Sunday that he thinks the state should hold a voter referendum on the issue of gay marriage.

Asked in an interview with CBS' "Sunday Morning" if he believed in same-sex marriage, Christie said he did not.

"But what I will tell you is that I understand that good people of good will have a difference of opinion on this," he added. "And so my view on it is, put it on the ballot. Let the people decide."

The interview aired just two days after a New Jersey superior court judge ruled that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in the state starting Oct. 21, since those couples were denied federal benefits under New Jersey's civil union law. Christie vowed to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court. 

Clarification: This post has been updated to show that the interview aired Sunday. It was pre-taped.

Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview that aired Sunday that a deal on Iran's nuclear weapons program could be struck quickly if Iran is willing to open its uranium enrichment facilities to international inspectors.

Appearing on "60 Minutes," the secretary of state told CBS' Scott Pelley that a deal could be finalized even sooner than the three- to six-month time frame that Iranian President Hasan Rouhani proposed.

"It's possible to have a deal sooner than that depending on how forthcoming and clear Iran is prepared to be," Kerry said.

"Iran needs to take rapid steps, clear and convincing steps, to live up to the international community's requirements regarding nuclear programs, peaceful nuclear programs," he added.

President Barack Obama announced Friday that he had spoken by phone with Rouhani, the first conversation between the leaders of the U.S. and Iran since 1979.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) complained about "those crazy people in the House" as the Senate voted on a government funding bill, according to the Washington Examiner's Rebecca Berg.

The Senate voted 54 to 44 on Friday to pass legislation averting a government shutdown on Oct. 1. That legislation now goes back to the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said he would not accept it.

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said Thursday that former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost the election because he "did not want to be president of the United States," AL.com reported.

O'Reilly told the crowd at a Faulkner University fundraiser that he asked Romney to appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" for an entire hour the Monday night before the election, after the Obama campaign turned down an offer to split the hour.  

“We never got an answer," O’Reilly said, as quoted by AL.com. "We never got a reason. They just didn’t do it.” 

“So we’re sitting there going, 'Does this guy want to lose?' The answer is yes, he did not want to be president of the United States, and that’s why he lost," he continued.

To further prove that Romney "did not want to win the election," O'Reilly said the former Massachusetts governor missed a crucial opportunity to gain the upper hand in the third presidential debate. He faulted Romney for not directly confronting the president about last year's deadly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.

“It would have knocked him right out,” O’Reilly said. “He could not have answered. He would have evaded it. He didn’t have the answers. He could have just won the election right there.”

The Senate is expected to wrap up a series of four votes on a temporary government funding bill, or continuing resolution, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET Friday. Watch live below: 

Abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit Friday claiming two provisions of the state's new abortion law are unconstitutional, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge to stop the law from taking effect as scheduled on Oct. 29, according to the newspaper. The groups' lawsuit challenged provisions of the law that would require doctors follow FDA protocol in administering abortion pills and mandate doctors gain admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), a candidate for governor who supports the abortion law, plans to represent the state in U.S. district court, according to the Morning News. 

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) had a sharp message Thursday for congressional Republicans, including those from his home state, opposed to Obamacare: "get over it."

Writing in an op-ed published in the New York Times, Beshear acknowledged that Kentucky is a red state claiming two prominent Republican members of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul. But Beshear argued even Republican governors like Arizona's Jan Brewer, Ohio's John Kasich and Michigan's Rick Snyder have been able to accept Obamacare as "a tool for historic change" rather than "a referendum on President Obama." 

"So, to those more worried about political power than Kentucky’s families, I say, 'Get over it,'" he wrote. "The Affordable Care Act was approved by Congress and sanctioned by the Supreme Court. It is the law of the land."

"Get over it ... and get out of the way so I can help my people."

Beshear wrote that he was "offended" by the "partisan gamesmanship" of Obamacare's detractors, since he said Kentucky residents rank among the worst in the nation in several major health categories due to their lack of affordable health coverage. McConnell has been vocal about his opposition to Obamacare, but has admitted that shutting down the government wouldn't stop the implementation of the health care law. For his part, Paul assisted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in his 21-hour floor speech against Obamacare, but has also been noncommittal about forcing a government shutdown.

The health insurance exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act are slated to open on Oct. 1.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said Friday that fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz's (R) presidential prospects were damaged by his 21-hour floor speech against Obamacare.

“I think what became clear this week is that he can’t be president and the reason is nobody will follow him, even people within his own party won’t follow him,” Castro said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And so I think in terms of his long term prospects it was fairly damaging." 

The Texas Democrat noted that Cruz's speech had a polarizing effect. Some of Cruz's Republican colleagues were vocal about their disapproval: Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on Thursday accused Cruz from the Senate floor of putting on a "show" instead of working to avoid a government shutdown. 

"I think that he wanted to make a big splash and he certainly has," Castro said. "He's done something that I think is unusual, which is he's made Washington worse, he's made the polarization worse."

He had tweeted a similar sentiment during Cruz's speech.

Castro added that Cruz's stance on the health care law doesn't encompass the views of many Texans.

"It was really hard to hear Ted speak about representing 26 million Texans when he was giving that talk, because there are millions and millions of Texans who are without health care coverage and who very much disagree with his point of view and who also are looking forward to the chance to get health care coverage," he said.

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