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

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]

EMILY's list, the group that supports Democratic female political candidates, endorsed Points of Light CEO Michelle Nunn Monday for the U.S. Senate race in Georgia.

“Michelle Nunn’s creative stewardship of the world’s largest volunteer organization shows us what a commitment to bipartisan collaboration and public service can do,” Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List, said in a press release. “As CEO of the Points of Light, Michelle has partnered with businesses and philanthropists to effectively address challenges in our communities, and make life better for women and families across the country. I have no doubt that this bold decision maker will achieve great things in Washington, and the EMILY’s List community – now more than two million members strong – is thrilled to support this historic campaign.” 

If elected, Nunn would be the first woman to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate.

Mayor Bob Filner isn't the only San Diego politician with alleged sex issues.

The Voice of OC reported late last week on allegations that former City Councilman Carl DeMaio (R), who faced off against Filner in last year's mayoral race, had at least twice been seen masturbating in a men's room after leaving council meetings.

The allegations were made by former council President Ben Hueso, who told Voice of OC that he walked into the men's room on two occasions in 2009 and witnessed DeMaio masturbating.

"DeMaio was masturbating. He jumped, caught by surprise," Hueso told the news site, describing the first time he witnessed the act. "He jumped to the sink ... saying 'I’m sorry, I’m sorry' about six times. Then washed his hands, darted out."

Other members of the council were aware of the allegations, but none reported them to authorities, Voice of OC reported.

A spokesman for DeMaio denied that the activity occurred.

"It is absurd and ludicrous," DeMaio spokesman Dave McCulloch told the Voice of OC. "It is absolutely ludicrous to report on something like this in the first place."

DeMaio, who lost a mayoral runoff to Filner in November, hasn't ruled out running for the office again, according to San Diego's KGTV.

Filner agreed on Friday to resign from office amid allegations from at least 18 women that he had sexually harassed them.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Sunday dismissed chatter from his fellow Republicans calling for President Barack Obama's impeachment, saying the GOP should instead focus its energies on repealing Obamacare and promoting school choice.

"Look, I reject that kind of talk," Jindal said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." "The reality is I didn't like it when the left spent eight years trying to delegitimize President Bush, calling into question his election. I don't think we should be doing that to President Obama." 

"The reality is, one of the great things about this country is we do have a peaceful transfer of power," he continued. "I disagree with this president's policies. And stop talking about impeachment. Let's go out there and let's have a legitimate debate. Let's fight his policies. Let's try to repeal Obamacare. Let's try to promote school choice. Let's fight against more government spending."

Several Republican politicians have floated the idea of impeaching the president this August. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) was captured on video at a town hall saying Obama is getting "perilously close" to impeachable offenses, while Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) said impeaching the president would be a "dream come true."

Watch the interview below, courtesy of NBC:

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Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) on Sunday said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "doesn't know anything about healthcare" and questioned his suitability for higher office.

"Ted Cruz may be a very good politician, but he certainly does not know anything about health care," Dean said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The former governor called Cruz's plan for cross-state health insurance purchasing a "terrible idea," saying he wouldn't want Texas' insurance policies affecting Vermont's universal health care.

"So, these are crazy ideas from the far right," Dean said. "He's a slick spokesman and God help us if he ever does get to be anything more than the senator from Texas."

Watch the segment below, courtesy of CNN:



The Alabama Republican Party voted Saturday against a proposed rule that would have removed a junior member from its steering committee because of her support of gay marriage, the Associated Press reported.

The measure was aimed at Stephanie Petelos, the chairwoman of the Alabama College Republicans, who had made public comments in support of the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. Petelos told the AP she hopes her ordeal "doesn't scare or shy anyone away from the party."

Bonnie Sachs, an executive committee member who proposed the rule change, told the AP that steering committee members need to serve "in such a way that we don't go to the media with an agenda that we may have." Other committee members said they didn't share Petalos' view on gay marriage, but did respect her First Amendment right to expressing that view.

"We're not the Taliban. We're not the Third Reich," committee member Clay Barclay told the AP.

President Barack Obama met with his National Security Council on Saturday to discuss the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime on Wednesday near Damascus, according to the White House.

Obama received a "detailed review of a range of potential options he had requested be prepared for the United States and the international community to respond to the use of chemical weapons," according to the White House readout of the meeting. Meanwhile, the U.S. intelligence community "continues to gather facts to ascertain what occurred" in the alleged attack. 

Obama also spoke Saturday with British Prime Minister David Cameron about the continued violence in Syria, according to the White House.

Below are listed the participants in the meeting, per the White House readout:

The Vice President

Secretary of State John Kerry

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power

National Security Advisor Susan Rice

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey

Deputy Attorney General James Cole

Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco

Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Benjamin Rhodes

National Security Advisor to the Vice President Jacob Sullivan

This post has been updated.