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

In his speech on the economy Wednesday in Galesburg, Ill., President Barack Obama vowed to put his platform to use to defray soaring education costs and invest in early childhood education in order to strengthen the middle class.

"If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century," Obama said. "If we don’t make this investment, we're going to put our kids, our workers, and our country at a competitive disadvantage for decades. So we have to begin in the earliest years, and that’s why I’ll keep pushing to make high-quality preschool available to every four year-old in America."

"I'm also going to use the power of my office over the next few months to highlight a topic that's straining the budgets of just about every American family and that's the soaring cost of higher education," he added. "Everybody's touched by this, including your president who had a whole bunch of loans he had to pay off." 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) criticized President Obama's speech on the economy Wednesday even before it happened, calling the remarks "a hollow shell" and "an Easter egg with no candy in it."

"The White House says it's not expected to say anything new, there are no new proposals in this speech. The president himself said it isn't going to change any minds," Boehner said to his colleagues from the House floor. "So what exactly will change? What's the point? What's it going to accomplish?"

"You probably got the answer. Nothing," he continued. "It's a hollow shell. It's an Easter egg with no candy in it."

Watch Boehner's comments below, courtesy of CBS News: 

The conservative Club for Growth's PAC released a statement Wednesday expressing its interest in the fledgling campaign of Matt Bevin, a Kentucky businessman and primary challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“The Club for Growth PAC met with Matt Bevin many months ago, and we’d like to hear more about his candidacy and the differences between him and Senator McConnell on the issues,” the group's President Chris Chocola said in the statement.

Bevin is expected to formally announce his candidacy Wednesday, while McConnell took a preemptive hit at his challenger with an ad labelling the businessman "Bailout Bevin."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that President Barack Obama's scheduled speech in Illinois is meant to put national focus on the economy instead of "phony scandals" concocted by Congress, prompting "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough to launch a heated barrage of questions about the IRS scandal.

Asked if he thought the IRS scandal was "phony," Carney said that House Republicans had "cherry-picked" information only to drop their case against the agency once the full details emerged.

"I see you smiling, I don’t know that there’s anything to smile about," Scarborough said to Carney. "It wasn’t a couple of crazy people in Cincinnati. This information actually went up to the Chief Counsel of the IRS, which was one of two political appointees by the President of the United States and the entire IRS. So it doesn’t sound phony to me, Jay.” 

"I greatly appreciate that that is the line being pushed by Republicans who want Washington to be focused on scandals instead of the economy," Carney responded before Scarborough interrupted.

"Don't give me talking points, because that doesn't work on this show," Scarborough said. "So answer my question, and then let's talk about the economy." 

Carney conceded that the White House accepts that it needs to get to the bottom of what went on at the IRS, but said the economy deserves Washington's focus.

Watch the full "Morning Joe" segment below, courtesy of MSNBC: 

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The head of the Massachusetts State Police said Tuesday that the police photographer who leaked photos of the arrest of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will likely keep his job, the Boston Globe reported.

Col. Timothy Alben told the Globe that Sgt. Sean Murphy was "a man of character," and "a person who has come in here and given a great deal to this organization.”

A State Police spokesman told the Globe that the decision to fire a trooper depends on the seriousness of the offense as well as prior disciplinary history. Murphy was not accused of criminal conduct or violence, the spokesman said.

Gilberton, Penn. police Chief Mark Kessler said Wednesday he was exercising his First and Second Amendment rights when he posted profanity-ridden videos to YouTube, in which he fires machine guns and calls Secretary of State John Kerry a "traitor" for supporting a U.N. arms treaty.

In a phone interview with the Pottsville Republican-Herald newspaper, Kessler defended two July 15 Youtube videos that went viral this week, one up to 31,319 views Tuesday from just 3,280 views on Monday by that newspaper's count. The videos show him in plain clothes firing automatic weapons while going on verbal tirades about gun rights.

"I think the video is in support of the Constitution -- the support of the First Amendment, the right to express your thoughts and words freely without reprisal from any government," Kessler told the Republican-Herald. "That's why I used the vocabulary I did. As for the firing of the guns, that is my Second Amendment right. I have the right to keep and bear arms regardless of what the government says that I don't."

"You don't see me going out and dragging people out of their vehicles and beating on them. You don't see me doing anything like that," he told the newspaper, comparing his videos to those that purport to show police brutality. "Did I use some vulgar language? Absolutely. Is it my right to do that? Absolutely. It's the First Amendment. Did I fire off a gun? Absolutely."

Kessler's YouTube content extends beyond those two posts. His channel also features a rant against "libtards" and a gun demonstration in which Kessler, in police uniform, shot a photo of a clown that he described as "Nancy Pelosi with her gavel, when she was speaker of the House."

Watch Kessler's original YouTube posts below:  

This post has been updated.

A second woman came forward Tuesday night to say that she plans to report an uncomfortable advance by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. 

Political consultant Laura Fink, who worked for then-congressman Filner as a deputy campaign manager from 2004 to 2006, told KPBS News that Filner touched her "posterior" in front of guests at a 2005 fundraiser.

Fink told KPBS that she sent Filner an email detailing the incident, in which he asked her to "turn around" and put his hands on her "posterior" after a fundraiser attendee remarked that Fink had "worked her tush off" to organize the event. Fink demanded an apology and the mayor simply mumbled "I'm sorry" a few days later, she said.

Watch the full interview below, courtesy of KPBS: 

The White House released a statement Tuesday condemning an amendment introduced in the House by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) that would defund a National Security Agency phone records collection program that the Obama administration said is vital to national security.

"We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in the statement.

Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) on Tuesday condemned Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) comments on legalizing undocumented immigrants in a Newsmax interview last week.

"In my district, I have multiple schools, who on a regular basis produce valedictorians and they are undocumented," Garcia said in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration. "However, when members of this house use language such as 'for every one that is a valedictorian, there are another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and have calves the size of cantaloupes because they've been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,' it is offensive." 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) also made reference to King's remarks in the hearing, citing the "valedictorians, salutatorians, young men and women" who come through her office "with tears in their eyes" as motivation to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.