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

Senate Democrats debated leaking emails exchanged between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) chiefs of staff discussing employer contributions to congressional staff's health care, Roll Call reported Tuesday.

Senate Democratic chiefs of staff discussed email exchanges between Reid's chief David Krone and Boehner's chief Mike Sommers at a recent meeting, an anonymous source with knowledge of the meeting told Roll Call. The emails would reveal Boehner's stance on employer subsidies for his staff's health care plans, according to Roll Call.

Another anonymous individual who attended a dinner Monday night with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) told the publication that the senator revealed to the lobbyists present that the emails would be leaked within a day.

A Boehner spokesman said the emails would reflect the speaker's anti-Obamacare position.

“Any emails from Mr. Sommers will reflect the Speaker’s position: he voted against Obamacare, and he wants to repeal Obamacare. If the Senate Democrats and the White House want to make a ‘fix’ to the law, it would be their fix. The Speaker’s ‘fix’ is repeal,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told Roll Call. “This is just a desperate act by Harry Reid’s staff to protect their own subsidy.”

Reid's spokesman declined to comment to the publication.

This post has been updated.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Monday that he believes all parties involved in the budget debate have handled it poorly, but faulted President Barack Obama in part for "waiting on leadership" from Congress.

Speaking at a roundtable on hunger in Red Bank, N.J., Christie called the shutdown "a failure of everyone who is responsible for the system," echoing comments he made last week. The governor said it's ultimately the executive's duty to force Republicans and Democrats to hammer out a bargain.

"My approach would be, as the executive: Call in the leaders of Congress or the Legislature and say, ‘We’re not leaving this room until we fix the problem,’” Christie said. “Because I’m the boss. I’m in charge. When you’re the executive and you’re waiting from leadership from the legislative branch or government — whether you’re a governor or you're the president or a mayor — you’re going to be waiting forever, forever, because they’re not built to lead and take risks.”

The Obama administration ordered executive departments to follow plans for a government shutdown shortly before midnight Monday, after the House GOP and Senate Democrats failed to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution to fund the federal government past Oct. 1.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) wife Anita said Saturday that abortion "could be a woman's right." 

The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith asked Perry to expand on women's rights during their conversation at the 2013 Texas Tribune Fest, since he said the issue will resurface should state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) announce that she's running for governor as Associated Press sources suggest. Davis gained national attention when she staged an 11-hour filibuster of a restrictive abortion bill, which Rick Perry vocally supported

"That's really difficult for me, Evan, because I see it as a women's right," Perry said. "If they want to do that, that is their decision, they have to live with that decision." 

Smith then asked the state's first lady to clarify whether she believes it's a woman's right within the law to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

"Yeah, that could be a women's right," Perry responded. "Just like it's a man's right if he wants to have some kind of procedure. But I don't agree with it, and that's not my view."

"You know, the older that I get, there are two sides to every nickel," she added.

President Barack Obama said Monday that he plans to speak with congressional leaders over the next few days as lawmakers debate a continuing resolution to fund the government. 

"I suspect that I will be speaking to the leaders today, tomorrow and the next day," Obama said. "But there's a pretty straightforward solution to this. If you set aside the short-term politics and you look at the long-term here, what it simply requires is everybody to act responsibly and do what's right for the American people." 

The president said he was "not at all resigned" to a government shutdown, according to the Associated Press. The current continuing resolution runs out on Oct. 1.

Singer Jennifer Hudson starred in a Funny or Die video released last week that spoofed the ABC show "Scandal" to promote the benefits of Obamacare.

Playing the part of a "covert scandal manager," Hudson meets with clients who ask her to fix their healthcare "scandals" -- from a father who needs his son to be covered by his healthcare plan after he graduates college to a politician whose pregnant mistress doesn't have a health insurance policy. 

"Can you please find me a real scandal?" a frustrated Hudson asks. "All of these people's scandals can easily be fixed by the ACA." 

Hudson and Funny or Die's president of production, Mike Farah, were part of a group of artists who met with President Barack Obama and White House staff in July to offer their help explaining the Affordable Care Act to young adults

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.