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

The co-chairman of Iowa's Polk County Republican Party has stepped down and registered as an Independent, writing in a resignation letter that the GOP is "headed in the wrong direction," the Des Moines Register reported Tuesday. 

Chad Brown told the newspaper he resigned his post on Aug. 5. Brown cited Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) recent comments comparing undocumented immigrants to drug mules as an example of his disagreement with the party, along with its positions on gun control and climate change. 

From Brown's resignation letter, as quoted by the Register:

In 2012, the Polk GOP lost Polk County by over 32,000 votes. Until 2002, Republicans were elected to the State House from Des Moines. In 2012, Republicans lost 2 State House seats in suburban, Republican-leaning districts and came two dozen votes from losing a third. Facts are stubborn things. I think we are now headed in the wrong direction on several fronts and regretfully must step aside.


It’s my opinion that rather than fix the problems that led to such a massive 2012 defeat, the GOP does not seem to seriously want to fix the issues. I think helping a dysfunctional Party that does not want to address its problems is enabling. I do not believe in enabling. I debated this for weeks and am certain this is the only course.

Commissioners in Colorado's Weld County voted unanimously Monday in favor of putting a 51st state initiative on the November ballot, Denver television station KDVR reported.

The initiative read "Shall the Board of County Commissioners of Weld County, in concert with the county commissioners of other Colorado counties, pursue becoming the 51st state of the United States of America?” according to KDVR.

Ten counties in the state held meetings throughout June and July to discuss seceding to form "North Colorado," partly in reaction to state legislation restricting the oil and gas industries and tightening gun control. Should a ballot initiative pass in each county, the secession plan would still require the approval of the state legislature, the governor and Congress.

[Image via spirit of america / Shutterstock]

Estimates from 19 states offering health care exchanges show that at least 8.5 million plan to buy insurance through exchanges in those states, far outpacing the federal government's estimate of 7 million new participants in exchanges across all 50 states, USA Today reported Monday.

The newspaper contacted all 50 states, and 19 were able to provide estimates for how many uninsured residents were expected to purchase health insurance through their exchanges. California alone estimated that it would sign up 5.3 million uninsured, according to USA Today.

The Congressional Budget Office had independently determined that 7 million people would purchase insurance through the exchanges nationwide, which are open for enrollment between Oct. 1 and March 31, 2014, according to the newspaper.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a TV ad Monday that slams his primary challenger Matt Bevin's college education record.

The 30-second spot is based on an article in The Hill newspaper that was published in March, stating Bevin had listed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the top of his educational profile on his LinkedIn page. MIT officials told The Hill that the program Bevin had listed on his career profile was not affiliated with the university.

"Newspapers say Bevin was dishonest about his resume, claiming he graduated from prestigious MIT," the ad's narrator said. "Not true again. Bevin never attended MIT, and MIT has no record of Bevin." 

The six-figure ad buy will run in Kentucky, according to a press release from the campaign. 

A trauma surgeon who treated Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said the alleged Boston Marathon bomber suffered a gunshot wound to the face and a skull fracture among other injuries before he was captured, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Dr. Stephen Ray Odom, a certified surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said in newly unsealed court documents that he was the surgeon on call when Tsarnaev was brought to the hospital and Tsarnaev's attending physician in the following days.

“He has multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face, lower face” resulting in a skull-base fracture and other injuries, Odom said in a transcript dated three days after Tsarnaev's capture, as quoted by NBC News.

“He has multiple gunshots [sic] wounds to the extremities that have been treated with dressing to the lower extremities; and in the case of his left hand, he had multiple bony injuries as well that were treated with fixation and soft-tissue coverage, as well as tendon repair and vascular ligation,” Odom told U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler, as quoted by NBC News.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said Monday at a Verona, Va. town hall meeting that he does not support a path to citizenship included in the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"It is not a bill I can support. That bill gives legal status to people not lawfully here before the enforcement is put in,'' Goodlatte said, as quoted by the Waynesboro News Virginian.

Pressed by pro-immigration reform organizations who showed up in large numbers to the town hall, Goodlatte said the Senate's bill lacked a plan for proper enforcement and gave a special path to citizenship to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally, according to the News Virginian. The Virginia congressman said the House will not take up the Senate's legislation.

An international panel of scientists has determined with "near certainty" that human activity is the cause of rising global temperatures, the New York Times reported Monday.

“It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010,” a draft of the scientists' United Nations climate report read, as quoted by the Times. “There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level and changed some climate extremes in the second half of the 20th century.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a Nobel-Prize-winning group of several hundred scientists, publishes findings every five to six years that are considered the authoritative reports on climate change. Its latest report said the odds are at least 95 percent that humans are the primary cause of warming, according to the Times.

Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's attorneys were in a mediation session Monday that included a review of a potential resignation, San Diego's KGTV reported. 

Two anonymous sources inside the session told KGTV that Filner's attorneys were meeting with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Filner's former communications director in a sexual harassment lawsuit. One of the sources told the news station that the session was scheduled for late morning and had no set end time.

Another source told KGTV that a federal judge was presiding over the mediation, held at an undisclosed location.

Filner said in a news conference last month that he would go back to work on Aug. 19 upon completion of a two-week behavioral therapy program. The mayor was reportedly nowhere to be seen when San Diego City Hall opened Monday.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Monday that the U.S. "overestimated" its leverage in Egypt after violent clashes continued despite several top officials' efforts to diffuse the situation.

"We obviously don't have the leverage that other countries have in the region," Corker said on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports." "We have overestimated what our leverage is and underestimated, as I said before, the leverage that Saudi Arabia has and the Emirates have." 

Saudi Arabia's minister of foreign affairs pledged Monday that Islamic countries would fill the gaps should Western nations withhold aid to Egypt. The U.S. supplies $1.3 billion to the nation in military aid each year; but along with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, Saudi Arabia has already pledged $12 billion in aid to Egypt's new government since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July. 

"There's no question the monetary part of this is minuscule compared to what's being supplanted by these other countries," Corker added. "But we still have influence. We need to use it as much as we can."

The Tennessee senator said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he had "no doubt" the bloodshed in Egypt last week will lead the U.S. to suspend foreign aid until it can "recalibrate" its relationship with the conflicted nation.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Monday that Republicans in Congress need to develop a concrete agenda that isn't defined by just opposing Democrats, as well as be able to articulate that agenda to voters in terms they understand.

"As governors, as state leaders, we’re more optimistic than our friends in Washington,” Walker said on MSNBC’s 'Morning Joe.' “We’re not just against something, we’re laying out a plan, laying out a vision. You don’t just sit back and nick the other side – you got to lay out a plan.”

"We talk in terms that are more relevant,” Walker added. “Sequester, for most people it just goes right over their head. Debt ceilings, fiscal cliffs — we talk about making our kids’ schools better, we talk about balancing our budgets so we can live within our means, we talk about helping our neighbor get a job again.”  

When host Joe Scarborough asked Walker why he opposed a government shutdown to defund Obamacare, the governor said he had "real problems" with the healthcare law but that the GOP wasn't correctly addressing the problem.

“I think most Americans, even if they don’t like the size or growth of government, they still want something to work, something very fundamentally to work, and that’s a difference again between Washington and the state level," he said.

Watch the segment below, courtesy of MSNBC:

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[h/t The Hill]