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

Ken Buck, the district attorney of Colorado's Weld County and a former Republican candidate for U.S. senate, took the first steps Wednesday toward launching a 2014 bid against incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D).

A campaign official told the Denver Post that Buck filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and will formally launch his campaign in September with an announcement tour. 

Buck ran unsuccessfully as a tea party candidate for Senate in 2010 against Michael Bennett (D), in a race best remembered for his gaffes on the campaign trail. His comments included comparing being gay to alcoholism, calling supporters of the Birther movement "dumbasses" and saying residents should vote for him over his female primary opponent because he doesn't "wear high heels."

New Republic Senior Editor Julia Ioffe wrote a stinging rebuke Thursday to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, who she characterized as "an angry grandpa" that "interrupted and harangued and mansplained" to her when she challenged his view of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ioffe, who previously worked as a correspondent based in Moscow, was invited on "The Last Word" Wednesday to weigh in on President Barack Obama and Putin's cancelled summit but was interrupted once she challenged the host's perception of Putin's involvement in the Edward Snowden case.

"Julia, Julia, Julia," O'Donnell interrupted at one point, "You aren't seriously suggesting that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government did not have complete, total, absolute control over the outcome of Edward Snowden entering that airport in Moscow?"

"I think you do overestimate the Russians," Ioffe responded. "I think in general people who haven't been to Russia tend to overestimate their abilities."

O'Donnell continued to stall on Ioffe's points, prompting her to ask: "Have you reported out of Russia?"

"The problem is that this was not in the ranting comments section, but was coming from the host of a prime time, national television show. And if you don't have the good sense and education or, hell, the reporting experience to know better, then just let the guests you invited on speak," Ioffe wrote in her response. "Otherwise, don't waste my fucking evening."

Watch the segment, courtesy of MSNBC: 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) announced on KRMG Wednesday that he'll be running for re-election in 2014.

Inhofe told the radio station that he decided to launch a bid to keep his seat immediately after the 2012 presidential election, when he realized there would be more work for him to do in the Senate during a second Obama term.

"I went home and I talked to my wife and I said you know we’ve got a serious problem here, we’re going to have this guy around for four more years," he said. "I just can’t bail out now."

The Oklahoma senator told KRMG that he'd focus on vital funding for the military, cutting back on Environmental Protection Agency restrictions, and making federal land available for energy exploration.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough gave credence on Thursday to Republican concerns about his parent company's planned miniseries about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, joking it was natural to be suspicious of NBC's "pot-smoking Marxists" in California.

Scarborough's "Morning Joe" show was hosting Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who stopped by to talk about his threats to snub NBC on 2016 GOP presidential debates if the network moves ahead with the miniseries.

"You know us, and you know we're fair, I'm making your point here. But you don't know NBC Entertainment," Scarborough said to Priebus, when discussing why the chairman was willing to appear on the MSNBC morning show despite the threats.

"I see three Republicans here for sure, who are just naturally suspicious of pot-smoking Marxists hanging out in Santa Monica, writing scripts and trying to be political," he added.

It wasn't the first time Scarborough had tackled the conflict this week. In an earlier discussion about it on Wednesday, the former Republican congressman declared his employer, MSNBC, is "exactly the same" as Fox News during primetime.

The National Security Agency goes beyond intercepting direct communications between Americans and foreign persons of interest, as government officials have previously acknowledged, by also collecting e-mail and text communications from Americans who may mention a foreign surveillance target, the New York Times reported Thursday.

A senior intelligence official told the Times the NSA is casting a net for Americans' communications that may cite information connected to foreign targets, like an e-mail address. 

A rule for carrying out Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act law, listed among documents leaked by former security contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian on June 20, mentioned that the NSA "seeks to acquire communications about the target that are not to or from the target." That rule hinted at the wider scope of NSA surveillance but has been largely overlooked, according to the Times.

Prompted by the news that the legendary Graham family had sold the Washington Post to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, the chairman and vice chairman of its competitor The New York Times, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Michael Golden, sent a memo to staff Wednesday to assure them that the newspaper is "not for sale."

From the memo, obtained by Politico:

Colleagues –


We were all taken by surprise on Monday afternoon with the announcement of the Graham family’s decision to sell The Washington Post.  Surprise probably doesn’t cover it; we were stunned. 


This leads us to the Ochs-Sulzberger family and this great institution, The New York Times.  There has been much speculation and understandable concern about what this could mean for us.  Will our family seek to sell The Times?  The answer to that is no.  The Times is not for sale, and the Trustees of the Ochs-Sulzberger Trust and the rest of the family are united in our commitment to work together with the Company’s Board, senior management and employees to lead The New York Times forward into our global and digital future. 

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) met with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register Wednesday, praising the Senate's progress on legislation like a farm bill and the the Employment Non-Discrimination Act while acknowledging that the chamber is experiencing a "rough period" of partisanship that undermines other issues.

Harkin recounted one stinging example to the newspaper's editorial board, dating back to a July 15 closed-door meeting about filibuster rules, in which one unnamed senator said his constituents simply couldn't relate to the president. 

“I’m not naming any names, but one senator got up from a southern state and said, ‘Well, you’ve got to understand that to my people down here, Obama seems like he’s exotic,’” Harkin told the newspaper. “That he’s just exotic, he doesn’t share our values.”

Asked if he could name another American era as polarizing as today, Harkin said "Sure -- the Civil War."

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that passing immigration reform would produce a spike in home ownership, echoing one of the steps to revitalizing the housing market that he outlined in a speech in Arizona a day earlier.

"If we get immigration reform done, suddenly you've got all kinds of families coming out of the shadows, paying taxes, paying penalties, and they're also going to be really likely to buy homes," the president said at a Los Angeles roundtable with housing website Zillow.com. "They add value to a community."

Those families would be likely to buy homes in areas with high rates of foreclosure, Obama said, leading to increasing property values that could inject $1 trillion to the economy.


The intercept that led the State Department to announce it would close several embassies across the Middle East and Northern Africa last week was a conference call between al-Qaida leaders and their affiliates in the region, the Daily Beast reported Wednesday. 

One U.S. intelligence officer told the Daily Beast that the conference call was "like a meeting of the Legion of Doom," referring to a group of cartoon villains.  

Over 20 al-Qaida operatives were on the call discussing a pending attack with leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen, according to the Daily Beast's sources. 

"All you need to do is look at that list of places we shut down to get a sense of who was on the phone call," the intelligence officer said.

Kentucky senate challenger Matt Bevin (R) launched an attack ad Wednesday, calling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) own attacks towards Bevin hypocritical in light of McConnell's support of taxpayer bailouts for Wall Street.

McConnell had released an ad at the end of July branding his challenger "Bailout Bevin," claiming that the candidate's Connecticut-based businesses failed to pay their taxes.

The 30-second TV spot will run statewide, according to Bevin's campaign. The amount of the ad buy was not disclosed. The ad's narrator says that after voting for bailouts over his 30 years in the Senate, "slinging mud is all Sen. McConnell has left."