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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

President Barack Obama has offered his condolences to the family of slain Australian baseball player Chris Lane.

Lane, 22, was a collegiate baseball player studying in the U.S. at Oklahoma's East Central University. Three teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder in Lane's fatal shooting on Aug. 16 in nearby Duncan, Okla. 

"As the President has expressed on too many tragic occasions, there is an extra measure of evil in an act of violence that cuts a young life short," White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said in a statement to Australia's Sunday Herald Sun on Aug. 24. "The President and First Lady's thoughts and prayers are with Chris Lane's family and friends in these trying times."

In a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post published Monday, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) said that his failure to settle down with a "life partner" by this stage in his career has led to speculation that he may be gay.

The U.S. Senate hopeful recounted to the Post that early on in his time in the mayor's office, he sought out a friend who was a pastor to share his feelings about the rising murder rate in Newark. Booker expected to receive spiritual advice, but instead was told "you need to get married."

RELATED: Booker: If I Had Planned On Senate Run, I Wouldn’t Have Joined Start-Up

Booker told the Post that after that conversation he started dating more, although his courtship occurred strictly outside of the spotlight -- and not with Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, whom he was rumored to be seeing in 2007.

“Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven’t signed up for that yet?” Booker said. “And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’”

RELATED: Booker’s Start-Up Still Soliciting Investors As He Runs For Senate

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) formally announced her 2014 reelection bid on Monday, taking the opportunity to tout her jobs record and slam President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

Haley was joined at the event in Greenville, S.C. by fellow Republican governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Rick Perry of Texas. The governor heavily pitched her job creation record, according to the Columbia State, but drew the biggest applause when she talked about fighting to prevent Obamacare from expanding to South Carolina. 

"When it came to Obamacare, we didn’t just say ‘no.’ We said ‘never,’ ” Haley said, as quoted by the State. “We are not expanding Medicaid just because President Obama thinks we should."

The State reported that "hundreds of supporters and a few dozen protesters" were present for the event, while Reuters put the number of attendees at about 60. Haley thanked the protesters for coming and reminded them that her husband is currently deployed to Afghanistan to fight for their freedom to protest, according to the reports.

A Moscow newspaper reported Monday that before former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow in June, he had spent several days in the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong, according to the Washington Post.

Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Snowden, who leaked troves of secret NSA documents to the news media earlier this year, spent his 30th birthday at the Russian diplomatic post. According to the Post, the article quoted an unnamed Russian close to the Snowden case who said that Snowden arrived on his own and asked for help. A Western official offered a conflicting account to Kommersant, however, that Snowden had been invited to the consulate by Russia.

It's unclear from the report when Snowden decided to seek Russian aid to leave Hong Kong.

According to the Post, Kommersant also cited unnamed Russian officials who said that Cubans bowed to U.S. pressure and decided to refuse Snowden entry, leaving him stranded in Moscow with his U.S. passport revoked.

A group of tea party activists plan to hold a rally outside House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) office Tuesday, threatening to rebrand President Barack Obama's signature health care law as "BoehnerCare" if the speaker doesn't join a conservative movement to defund the program.

"If he funds it, he will own it," Janet Porter, founder of participating group Faith2Action, told the Washington Times.

Boehner has so far been uncommitted to the possibility of shutting down the government if Obamacare isn't defunded. Conservative radio host Mark Levin said on his radio program last week that "rather than calling it ObamaCare, we should call it BoehnerCare" if the speaker continued with his plan to fund the health care law, according to The Hill.

The Madison Project, a conservative PAC led by former Rep. Jim Ryun (R-KS), launched a radio ad Monday criticizing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on a range of issues including immigration reform and the GOP fight to defund Obamacare.

"Career Washington politician Mitch McConnell claims to be a conservative," the one-minute ad's narrator says. "Would a conservative have supported amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants in 1986 and 2006? No. But Mitch McConnell did."

The ad goes on to ask if a conservative would support the Wall Street bailout, broker a debt ceiling deal and undermine the GOP movement to defund the Affordable Care Act, stating that McConnell has supported "big-government policies" for 28 years.

The nearly $30,000 ad buy will run for a few weeks on conservative talk radio in the state of Kentucky, according to ABC News.

Listen to the ad below:

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) joined the band Cheap Trick Sunday night at their performance in Hampton Beach, N.H.

Brown, who was sporting an American flag polo shirt, shared a backstage photo and tweeted that playing guitar onstage for the band's song "Surrender" crossed an item off his "bucket list." 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Friday that a former U.S. Senate candidate was arrested for attempting to hire a hit man to kill his uncle, WHJL reported.

Thomas Kenneth "T.K." Owens, an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012, was arrested after he allegedly met up with a person he believed was a hit man at a sports bar and gave him $500 to kill his uncle Ernest "Ernie" Widby, according to the Johnson City Press.

According to the bureau, Owens brought a picture of Widby, who is a Carter County, Tenn. Sheriff's Office deputy and founding pastor of the New Zion Faith Center in Johnson City, Tenn., along with a copy of Wigby's home address to give the hit man.

Owens was being held on a $100,000 bond and scheduled to appear in court Friday, according to WHJL.

It wasn't the first time Owens had been arrested. WVLT reported that he was arrested last year for allegedly asking a 7-year-old girl for oral sex.

[Image via Fisun Ivan/Shutterstock]

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