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

Asked about President Barack Obama's silence on recent high-profile scandals in the Democratic Party involving the "objectification" of women, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the President's focus remained on the economy.

"The President is focused on what we can do for the middle class in this country, what we can do to help the economy grow, what we can do together through a grand bargain for the middle class to reform our business tax code in a way that's beneficial for American businesses," Carney said in a press briefing. 

When he was asked specifically to comment on allegations of sexual harassment against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner or recent revelations that New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner continued his sexting after his resignation from Congress, Carney said the White House would not be commenting on either case.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated Wednesday that Republican attempts to turn issues like IRS targeting and Benghazi into "phony scandals" have failed. 

Carney said that a few months back, there was "a lot more energy in Congress and the media" focused on issues that weren't in the interest of the American people rather than focused on the economy.

“What some in Congress have failed to do is provide any evidence, because there is none, that that activity was directed by the White House or was even partisan or political," Carney said in reference to the IRS, adding that the White House did need to "address poor performance."

Last week, Carney said the president's recent speeches were an effort to turn the national conversation to the economy instead of such "phony scandals" in an interview with Morning Joe, drawing the ire of host Joe Scarborough.

A Twitter transparency report released Wednesday showed that the U.S. government is making increasing numbers of requests for user data, reflecting what has become a point of contention between Internet companies and authorities.

From January to June, U.S. authorities made 902 requests for user information on 1,319 separate Twitter accounts, according to the report. The company's report for the first six months of 2012 showed that the U.S. government made 679 requests.

The report broke down request numbers by legal process, including subpoenas, search warrants and court orders, but did not specify how many of those requests were related to national security.

"An important conversation has begun about the extent to which companies should be allowed to publish information regarding national security requests," Twitter's Manager for Legal Policy Jeremy Kessel wrote on the company blog. "We have joined forces with industry peers and civil liberty groups to insist that the United States government allow for increased transparency into these secret orders. We believe it’s important to be able to publish numbers of national security requests – including FISA disclosures – separately from non-secret requests. Unfortunately, we are still not able to include such metrics."

Google recently filed a motion with the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asking the court to relax its gag order on disclosing FISA request numbers.

MSNBC host Thomas Roberts stopped himself on air Wednesday after calling Sydney Leathers, the woman who traded sexts with New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, "batshit."

Roberts played a clip of Leather's interview with Howard Stern's radio show, in which she explained how Weiner "lured her in" to the sexting situation.

"This chick is so batshit you know --" Roberts said before stopping himself. "Excuse me. But Leathers is reportedly considering a porn deal now. So that's why I say that this whole thing is such a big mess."


Another San Diego woman came forward Tuesday night to say that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner once gave her a "wet, saliva-filled kiss" on the cheek in a business meeting, making her the eighth woman to do so since allegations of the mayor's unwanted advances toward women began to surface.

Lisa Curtin, the director of government and military education at San Diego City College, told San Diego's KPBS News that Filner also examined her wedding band and asked if it was real during a 2011 meeting to discuss property around the city's Naval Training Center.

"He then asked me if it could come off while I was in D.C. and if I would go out with him,” Curtin told KPBS. “I said I really didn’t think so. And at that point, he pulled my hand closer to him and he reached over to kiss me. I turned my head at that moment and on the side of my face, I got a very wet, saliva-filled kiss including feeling his tongue on my cheek.”

Last week, Filner announced that he would enter a behavorial counseling clinic for two weeks, but would not be resigning the mayor's office.

Watch the interview below, courtesy of KPBS: 

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) may have previously refused to speak with protesters about an abortion bill he signed, but on Tuesday he stunned a group of demonstrators by stepping out of his mansion to deliver a plate of cookies to them. 

Planned Parenthood supporters were holding a vigil outside the governor's residence to protest the strict abortion bill McCrory signed into law Monday, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. At one point, McCrory emerged with his security detail and signaled to one protester to meet him in the middle of the street.

Jamie Sohn told the newspaper that McCrory pointed to her and handed her the plate of cookies, saying "These are for you. God bless you, God bless you, God bless you." Sohn said she was so surprised, she didn't say anything back.

The protesters reportedly responded by slipping the plate of cookies back under the mansion's gates, accompanied by a note that read "We want women's health care, not cookies."

Photo: Shutterstock / Lusoimages

In a wide-ranging interview with The New Republic published Tuesday, Sen John McCain (R-AZ) praised former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, his running mate in the 2008 presidential race, for "exciting" the GOP base in a way the senator couldn't achieve.

Asked if it "bothered" him when people said his legacy was choosing Palin as his running mate in 2008, McCain said "no."

"We were four points down when I chose her and three points up afterwards," he told the magazine. "She held her own and, some people said, won a debate with the vice president. She did everything I ever wanted. She excited our base in a way I was unable to achieve."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was asked to weigh in on a hypothetical Hillary Clinton versus Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) presidential showdown in an interview with The New Republic published Tuesday.  

"It's gonna be a tough choice," McCain laughed.

"Let me just clarify that. I think that Rand Paul represents a segment of the GOP, just like his father," he added. "And I think he is trying to expand that, intelligently, to make it larger."

Asked what he thought of Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, McCain told the magazine she "did a fine job."

"She’s a rock star," he said. "She has, maybe not glamour, but certainly the aura of someone widely regarded throughout the world."

Three prominent Texas Democrats were featured on the cover of Texas Monthly's August issue, including state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) holding the pair of pink Mizuno sneakers she iconically wore during her filibuster of the state's restrictive abortion bill.

The cover also features brothers Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, and U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro (D).

This post has been updated.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement Tuesday condemning a military judge's decision to convict Army Pfc. Bradley Manning under the Espionage Act, characterizing it as an effort to "intimidate anyone who might consider revealing valuable information in the future."

"While we're relieved that Mr. Manning was acquitted of the most dangerous charge, the ACLU has long held the view that leaks to the press in the public interest should not be prosecuted under the Espionage Act," Ben Wizner, the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project director, said in a statement. "Since he already pleaded guilty to charges of leaking information – which carry significant punishment – it seems clear that the government was seeking to intimidate anyone who might consider revealing valuable information in the future."

Manning was acquitted on charges of aiding the enemy.