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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

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) released a statement Sunday condemning a rodeo act that took place over the weekend at the Missouri State Fair, in which a clown wore a President Barack Obama mask while an announcer asked if spectators would like to see "Obama run down by a bull."

"If what's being reported is true, then it's shameful and it's unacceptable," the statement read. "The State Fair is funded by taxpayer dollars, and is supposed to be a place where we can all bring our families and celebrate the state that we love. But the young Missourians who witnessed this stunt learned exactly the wrong lesson about political discourse-that somehow it's ever acceptable to, in a public event, disrespect, taunt, and joke about harming the President of our great nation."

"Missouri is better than this, and I expect someone to be held accountable," the statement concluded.

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Steve Lonegan on Sunday dismissed controversy stemming from a racially charged tweet directed at the leading Democrat in the New Jersey race, Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker, that surfaced from his campaign account last week.

"I think it's time to move on," Lonegan told the Newark Star-Ledger in an interview during a campaign stop, calling the incident "a tempest in a tea pot."

The tweet, which was quickly removed at Lonegan's request, read "#breaking just leaked - Cory Booker's foreign policy debate prep notes," accompanied by a map of Newark's neighborhoods marked with locations like West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil, Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Trinidad.

Lonegan told the Star-Ledger that the tweet was not racist and argued Democrats would "use every excuse to pull the race card." He told the newspaper that the 21-year-old campaign staffer who drafted the tweet made a "mistake" and would not be fired.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday that the RNC's boycott over planned films about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would focus on CNN and NBC, which would air the films, and not on any company that may produce them. 

CNN's "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley asked Priebus to respond to a New York Times report that Fox Television Studios, Fox News' sister company, was in "the early stages" of talks with NBC to produce a miniseries on Clinton's life starring Diane Lane.

“The big question for me, Candy, is number one, which company is putting it on the air? Who is doing the work? I'm not interested if they're using the same caterer or whether they all drink Diet Coke and I'm not boycotting Diane Lane,” Priebus said.

“I am going to boycott the company that puts the mini-series and the documentaries on the air for the American people to view. I'm not interested in whether they use the same sound studio or whether they use the same set,” he added.

Watch the segment below, courtesy of CNN: 

President Barack Obama said in a Friday press conference that the United States "can and must be more transparent" in gathering intelligence for national security. 

Obama listed transparency as one of four steps his administration would take to address privacy and civil liberties with respect to surveillance. The president said he directed the intelligence community to "make public as much information about these programs as possible" and go further with declassifying information about National Security Agency surveillance programs.

President Barack Obama said Friday that he didn't believe Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information about National Security Agency data collection programs to several news publications, was a "patriot."

The president said in a press conference that he had signed executive orders offering whistleblower protection to the intelligence community, so there there were "other avenues" available to someone like Snowden "whose conscience was stirred and thought they needed to question government actions."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona announced Thursday that he would issue semiautomatic AR-15 rifles to all patrol deputies and require them to carry a firearm even when off-duty, the Arizona Republic reported. 

The move was apparently unrelated to an incident earlier in the day when a jail worker with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was shot to death in his front yard while starting his truck, according to the newspaper. Plans for the news conference had been made earlier in the week. Still, Arpaio used the opportunity to talk about the death of his employee.

"It’s very sad what happened,” Arpaio said, as quoted by the Republic. “This unfortunate situation that occurred dovetails somewhat into ... issuing my officers these semiautomatic AR-15 assault rifles.”

A news release from the sheriff's office said the agency had obtained 400 AR-15s in a process that took a few months to complete. The rifles were purchased with $500,000 seized under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, according to the newspaper. Arpaio said the AR-15s have an advantage over handguns in that they will help deputies counter suspects who have greater firepower.

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