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

The wife of rocker and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent was arrested Thursday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport when a gun was found in her carry-on luggage, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Airport spokesman David Magana confirmed to the newspaper that the airport's Department of Public Safety took Shemane Ann Nugent into custody. A police report was forthcoming on Friday.

Nugent's attorney, David Finn, told the Morning News that his client had a concealed-carry license and "completely forgot or never knew the weapon was in her bag." Finn said Nugent had no prior criminal record.

Ted Nugent blasted President Barack Obama's gun control message in his State of the Union address earlier this year, calling it "nonsense."

An overwhelming majority of Americans want President Barack Obama to secure congressional approval before using force in Syria, although they remain divided on the scope of military action, according to an NBC News survey released Friday.

Overall, 79 percent of those surveyed said they believe Obama should have Congress' approval prior to taking action while 50 percent said the United States should not intervene over the Syrian regime's reported use of chemical weapons. Support among the public for intervention increases when military action is limited to the U.S. Navy launching cruise missiles; 50 percent favor cruise missile strikes, while 44 percent oppose them, according to the poll.

The survey found that 58 percent of respondents agreed, however, with the statement that the use of chemical weapons by any country violates a "red line" and necessitates a significant U.S. response, including potential military action.

Former President George W. Bush said on Friday that President Barack Obama has a "tough choice" to make in determining a U.S. response to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons.

"The president's got a tough choice to make," Bush told "Fox & Friends" host Brian Kilmeade. "And if he decides to use our military, he'll have the greatest military ever backing him up."

"I'm not a fan of Mr. Assad," he added. "He's an ally of Iran, and he's made mischief." 

When pressed about Congress' and the United Nation's reluctance to proceed with military action, Bush remained tight-lipped with his take.

"The president has to make a tough call, Brian,” Bush laughed. “I know you’re trying to subtly rope me into the issues of the day. I refuse to be roped in. Putting our military in harm's way is the toughest decision a president will make."

Bush's former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a hawk on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said this week that he believes the Obama administration has failed to justify military intervention in Syria.

Watch the interview segment below:



This post has been updated.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who announced last week that he would leave office after being accused of making inappropriate advances toward at least 18 women, is expected to leave City Hall later today.

Filner's resignation takes effect at 5 p.m. PST, according to San Diego television station KGTV. A special election to fill the post has been scheduled for Nov. 19.

Two more women have filed claims with the city of San Diego and are seeking monetary damages, in addition to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed in July by Filner's former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, according to KGTV.

Attorney Daniel Gilleon said Filner grabbed one of his clients and kissed her at an event in May at an elementary school, according to the news station. The woman, identified only by the name Marilyn, was seeking $250,000 from the city.

Gilleon's second client, Stacy McKenzie, a district manager for a city-run park, alleged that Filner placed her in his now-infamous "headlock" and asked her for a date in April at a city function. McKenzie was seeking $500,000 from the city, according to KGTV.


Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) addressed rumors about his personal life Thursday night in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, reiterating that his sexuality "is not an issue right now."

Hayes pressed Booker on the subject from a "progressive" perspective, asking if Booker were gay, why he wouldn't come out in order to challenge the public's perceptions.

Booker said he thought it was "ridiculous" to be asked that question.

“The question really should not be am I gay or straight," he responded. "The question should be, why the heck are you asking the question in the first place? It doesn’t make a whit of difference what kind of senator I’m going to be or not."

“We need to stop in America talking about anybody in a public realm, besides what is important–the content of their character, the quality of their ideas, the courage within their hearts to serve others. That’s what’s important,” Booker added.

The Newark mayor also brushed back against his Republican opponent for the New Jersey Senate seat, Steve Lonegan, who said this week that speculation surrounding Booker's sexuality was "kind of weird" before taking a swing at Booker's masculinity.

“I have affirmed my sexual orientation numerous times over the years,” Booker said. “People in my local press world know exactly what that is.”

Watch the interview below:



Senior Obama administration officials held an unclassified conference call with Congressional leaders Thursday night to seek their input on a response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime’s use of chemical weapons, according to the White House.

"The views of Congress are important to the President’s decision-making process, and we will continue to engage with Members as the President reaches a decision on the appropriate U.S. response to the Syrian government’s violation of international norms against the use of chemical weapons," the White House readout of the call read. 

Administration officials that participated in the call included National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Sandy Winnefeld. Below is a list of members of Congress who participated in the briefing, according to the readout:

 Speaker John Boehner, R-OH

·         Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA

·         Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL, Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense

·         Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, Republican Whip

·         Representative Eric Cantor, R-VA, Majority Leader

·         Representative Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, Majority Whip

·         Representative Steny Hoyer, D-MD, Democratic Whip

·         Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, Democratic Conference Committee Vice Chair

·         Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, Chair, Appropriations Committee

·         Senator Carl Levin, D-MI, Chairman, Armed Services Committee

·         Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ, Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee

·         Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, Chair, Select Committee on Intelligence

·         Senator James Inhofe, R-OK, Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee

·         Senator Bob Corker, R-TN, Ranking Member, Foreign Relations Committee

·         Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, Ranking Member, Select Committee on Intelligence

·         Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT, Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

·         Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

·         Senator Thad Cochran, R-MS, Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense

·         Representative Bill Young, R-FL, Chairman, Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense

·         Representative Ed Royce, R-CA, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee

·         Representative Mike Rogers, R-MI, Chairman, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

·         Representative Nita Lowey, D-NY, Ranking Member Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

·         Representative Buck McKeon, R-CA, Chairman, Armed Services Committee

·         Representative Eliot Engel, D-NY, Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee

·         Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, Ranking Member, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

·         Representative Kay Granger, R-TX, Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement late Thursday following a conference call briefing between Congressional leaders and the Obama administration that expressed her support for potential "measured, targeted and limited" military action in Syria.

"What Assad has done is outside the realm of basic human rights. On this evening’s call, I expressed my appreciation for the measured, targeted and limited approach the President may be considering," Pelosi said in the written statement.

Pelosi also said in the statement that those members of Congress on the call were "assured during the call there would be ongoing consultation with Congress."

"On the call, I agreed with Speaker Boehner and other Members who stated that there needs to be more consultation with all Members of Congress and additional transparency into the decision making process and timing, and that the case needs to be made to the American people," she added.

A source connected to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only sitting black senator, was not invited to speak at the event because his office had declined an invitation to attend the commemoration as a spectator, Roll Call reported.

An email exchange obtained by Roll Call showed that an invitation to the 50th anniversary commemoration appeared to be sent to all members of Congress, as the form letter identified the recipient as "Representative" rather than by name. 

The exchange showed that a staff assistant to Scott, Rachel Shelbourne, sent a reply to the invitation that read in part, "Unfortunately, the Senator will be in South Carolina during this time, so he will be unable to attend the event. Please do, however, keep him in mind for future events you may be hosting," as quoted by Roll Call.

The source explained to Roll Call that the speaking program was largely drafted according to who was able to confirm availability to attend the event.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) reportedly were invited to speak at the ceremony, but declined.

Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers (R) reacted Thursday to the Department of Justice's announcement it would not sue the state over its marijuana legalization law, saying he was "mystified" that it "took so long" for the department to articulate the position.

“The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) contacted Governor John Hickenlooper and me this morning to inform us of the position they are taking with regard to Colorado having legalized marijuana at the state level," Suthers said in a written statement. "The position taken by DOJ is very much along the lines I anticipated and I remain mystified as to why it took so long to articulate it. Clarification of the federal position, however, is nevertheless welcome. Colorado state government will continue to develop a regulatory scheme that is as effective as possible under the dictates of Amendment 64, with recognition that the federal government will take action if the state regulatory scheme does not deter activity that runs afoul of federal enforcement priorities."

"The eight criteria set forth for future federal prosecutions of marijuana in Colorado will give state and local law enforcement officials a basis for discussion with federal law enforcement officials about prosecuting those who abuse Colorado’s marijuana regulatory system," the statement continued.