Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She is a graduate of New York University, where 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. Tom Coburn (R-OK) allegedly told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at a recent closed-door meeting that there is a GOP "leadership vacuum" in the Senate, the Hill reported Thursday.

Coburn called out Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) for their push to defund Obamacare, which he said gave outside groups "ammo" to attack their GOP colleagues, a Republican who attended the meeting told the Hill. 

The Oklahoma senator then told McConnell that he had allowed Cruz's and Lee's anti-Obamacare campaign to spin out of control "because there's a leadership vacuum," according to the anonymous Republican.

Coburn declined to comment to the Hill on the conversation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) were caught on a hot mic Wednesday night while discussing their party's messaging on the government shutdown. 

Paul ran into McConnell, who was wired for an interview, in front of a camera after wrapping his own interview with CNN, according to Western Kentucky news station WPSD

"I just did CNN and I just go over and over again 'We're willing to compromise, we're willing to negotiate.' I think -- I don't think they poll tested 'we won't negotiate.' I think it's awful for them to say that over and over again," Paul said of the Obama administration's stance on the shutdown.

"Yeah, I do too, and I just came back from that two hour meeting with them, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly," McConnell said.

President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders Wednesday night to discuss opening the federal government and raising the debt ceiling, but the meeting brought the two sides no closer to ending the budget impasse.

In the video recording, Paul was confident that the GOP's pivot from demanding Obamacare be defunded to seeking out compromise would succeed.

"I think if we keep saying 'We wanted to defund it. We fought for that but now we're willing to compromise on this,' I think they can't -- we're gonna, I think -- well I know we don't want to be here, but we're gonna win this I think," he said.

Rep. Todd Rotika (R-IN) got into a heated exchange with "CNN Newsroom" host Carol Costello Thursday over whether health care reform should be part of debate on the federal government's budget.

"Carol, do you have any idea how much this law is going to cost?" Rotika said of Obamacare. "It's an insidious law because it's a lie. It says it's going to be affordable." 

"Do you know how much it costs every day the government is partially shut down?" Costello responded. "You are costing taxpayers millions of dollars."

The two repeated their positions on the issue until Rotika said "we keep going in circles."

"You're part of the problem, the media is part of the problem," Rokita said.

"Come on, that's so easy. That's so easy," Costello protested.

"Carol, you're beautiful but you have to be honest as well," Rokita said.




[h/t Huffington Post]

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said she has regretted calling former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a "monster" on the 2008 presidential campaign trail "pretty much every day since." 

"It was beyond searing. You lose your temper, and you're in a campaign, things go back and forth," she said in an interview that aired Thursday on the "Today Show." "It completely broke my heart and there is a fair amount of negativity heaped upon her that I find massively unfair. The idea that I could have contributed in some way to that narrative, that was terrible." 

Power resigned as a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign after the comment surfaced in The Scotsman newspaper and outraged Clinton supporters called for her to step down. 

"But we worked together very effectively on issues of common concern the last four years," Power said, adding that her apology to Clinton was "emotional."



Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Wednesday said she wasn't worried about Republicans caving to pressure to end the government shutdown because "this is about the happiest" she's seen her conservative colleagues in a long time.

Appearing with colleague Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Bachmann told Fox News host Sean Hannity that she believes there has been "strong unity" between conservatives on almost every budget vote.

"This is about the happiest I've seen members in a long time, because we see we are starting to win this dialogue on a national level," she said. 

As the House debated a short-term government funding bill over the weekend, Bachmann told the Washington Examiner that she and other conservatives didn't fear a government shutdown because they viewed it as a chance to block Obamacare.

"There is a very large group of us who believe that this is it, this isn't just another year, this isn't just another CR fight," she told the Examiner. "This is historic, and it's a historic shift that's about to happen, and if we're going to fight, we need to fight now."

Bachmann also displayed police tape from the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. during her "Hannity" appearance, calling it a "symbol" of the GOP's fight to pass piecemeal legislation funding portions of the government in the face of opposition from the Obama administration and Senate Democrats.

[h/t Mediaite]



President Barack Obama on Thursday is scheduled to visit M. Luis Construction Company in Rockville, Md. to discuss how the government shutdown would affect small businesses and the need for Congress to pass a budget, the White House said. 

Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks at 10:40 a.m. ET.

Police said a man accidentally shot himself in the leg Wednesday inside a Walmart in Antioch, Tenn., The Tennessean reported.

The man, 21, was a handgun carry permit holder and had an unholstered .40-caliber pistol in his waistband, police said. When he reached for the gun to prevent it from slipping as he approached the Walmart checkout line, the firearm discharged a single round into his leg.

The man suffered a minor leg injury and no charges are expected to be filed, according to the newspaper.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that he hasn't heard of any hacking attempts launched against state or federal health care exchanges since they opened Tuesday.

Carney was asked during the daily press briefing whether the White House was concerned about possible hacking attempts aimed at Obamacare's online marketplaces, after the state of New York announced it was looking into "abnormally high traffic" on its Obamacare website. He said that he hadn't heard any such reports, referring the reporter to the state of New York and to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday again criticized President Barack Obama over the closure of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Paul wrote a tweet contrasting the number of guards at the memorial with the alleged lack of security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four people were killed in a deadly attack last year.

Appearing on Fox News Tuesday night, Paul cited the memorial closure to accuse the Obama administration of playing a "parlor game" with the government shutdown.

"Some idiot in the government sent goons out there to set up barricades so they couldn't see the monument," Paul told host Sean Hannity. "People had to spend hours setting up barricades where there are never barricades, to prevent people from seeing the World War II monument, because they're trying to play a charade."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also released a statement Wednesday blaming the Obama administration for the memorial's closure.

FoxNews.com altered Associated Press reports it republished Wednesday to replace references to a government shutdown with the word "slimdown."

FoxNews.com placed the headline "Americans turn to social media to air feelings on slimdown" on one AP story and altered its original lede: "The roiling debate over the U.S. government shutdown is extending to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as fed-up Americans turn to social media to register their disgust with federal lawmakers for shutting down the government." The website replaced "shutting down the government" in that sentence with "slimming down the government." 

The news website also replaced references to a government shutdown with its preferred term in the headlines and ledes of AP stories here and here.

The term "slimdown" appeared in six places on the website's front page on Tuesday, the first day of the shutdown. 

[h/t Media Matters]