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

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that although he has not yet made a decision about a potential military strike against the Syrian government over its use of chemical weapons, any action the U.S. may decide to take against Syria must send a "pretty strong signal" that prevents further proliferation. 

"I have not made a decision, but I think it's important that if, in fact, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal, that in fact, it better not do it again," Obama said in an interview with PBS' "NewsHour."

Although he said he had "no interest" in an "open-ended conflict" with Syria, Obama reiterated that his administration believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime did in fact carry out a chemical weapons attack and must face "international consequences."

Watch the interview segment below, courtesy of PBS:

Correction: This post incorrectly attributed the interview segment to CBS. The video is courtesy of PBS.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech Wednesday by delivering his own list enumerating problems he sees facing the African-American community on his talk radio program.

The list, titled "My Own Dream for America," was posted on his radio program's website:

I have a dream that all black parents will have the right to choose where their kids attend school.

I have a dream that all black boys and girls will grow up with a father.

I have a dream that young black men will stop shooting other young black men.

I have a dream that all young black men will say “no” to gangs and to drugs.

I have a dream that all black young people will graduate from high school.

I have a dream that young black men won’t become fathers until after they’re married and they have a job.

I have a dream that young unmarried black women will say “no” to young black men who want to have sex.

I have a dream that today’s black leadership will quit blaming racism and “the system” for what ails black America.

I have a dream that black America will take responsibility for improving their own lives.

I have a dream that one day black America will cease their dependency on the government plantation, which has enslaved them to lives of poverty, and instead depend on themselves, their families, their churches, and their communities.

As Mother Jones notes, Walsh, a former Tea Party representative who lost to Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in 2012, was sued by his ex-wife in 2011 for failing to pay over $100,000 in child support payments.

A town official in Maine was visited by the Secret Service Tuesday after posting a message to Facebook referring to President Barack Obama with a racial slur and calling for him to be shot, the Portland Press Herald reported.

David Marsters, a retired Massachusetts police officer and a candidate for selectman in Sabattus, Maine, posted a photo of Obama along with a link to a story about a Republican push to impeach the president at 8:17 p.m. Friday, writing "Shoot the Nigger" above it, according to the newspaper.

Marsters told the Press Herald that after his Facebook post was flagged to local law enforcement by other residents, he was visited by both the Secret Service and the CIA. He said he told the Secret Service agents who questioned him that he didn't intend to threaten the president. 

Marsters told the Press Herald in a telephone interview that his post was taken out of context.

"I think it's a lot of hogwash," he said. "I did not threaten the president. ... I might have used the wrong words. ... I didn't say I was going to do it."

"What I really meant to say is, 'When are we going to get rid of this (expletive),'" Marsters added. "I should have said, 'I hope the bastard dies.'"

View the post below, archived by the Lewiston-Auburn Sun-Journal:

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) said he was acting as a "very concerned uncle" when he called the Allen police department on Aug. 3 in hopes of getting his nephew's wife released from jail on shoplifting charges.

Dewhurst told Austin television station KVUE on Saturday that he never had a family member arrested before and didn't know the rules.

"How would you feel if you had two family members call and they were so distraught that they could barely talk?" Dewhurst said. "And so I simply wanted to know what the procedures were, what could be done, if anything."

Allen police released audio of the phone call last week to Dallas television KXAS, and Dewhurst could be heard on the call demanding to talk to "the most senior police officer you have" and referring to himself as "the No. 1 pick of all the law enforcement agencies in Texas."

"I'm the type of guy that I care for family, I care for my friends, I care for the people of Texas and I'm going to fight for them," Dewhurst told KVUE.

Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman and current Republican congressional candidate, dismissed a news report that alleged he had been seen masturbating in a men's room after leaving council meetings as "disgusting, humiliating and nothing more than a character assassination attempt."

“In politics, you see people make accusations all the time. And you know, I’ve had people criticize me before and I usually let it roll off my back,” DeMaio told San Diego's KNSD in an interview published Wednesday. “But this one crosses the line. It’s so gross. It’s so false, that I have to speak out. I have to present the truth.”

The Voice of OC reported late last week on allegations that DeMaio had been seen masturbating in the men's room in City Hall on at least two occasions, quoting former City Councilman Ben Hueso.

DeMaio provided KNSD with the results of a polygraph test taken on Aug. 26, in which the polygraph examiner concluded the "subject was not attempting deception" when he answered "no" to whether he recalled masturbating in the City Hall men's room when Hueso came in or if Hueso ever saw DeMaio masturbate.

Hueso's office told KNSD that he stands by the statements in the Voice of OC article, while attorney Robert Ottlie has sent a letter to the Voice of OC on DeMaio's behalf demanding a correction.  

DeMaio lost a mayoral runoff to outgoing Mayor Bob Filner, who plans to resign after being accused of inappropriate behavior by at least 18 women, in November. DeMaio hasn't ruled out running for the office again, according to San Diego's KGTV.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $350,000 to a group fighting recall campaigns against two Colorado politicians who supported gun control legislation, the Denver Post reported Tuesday.

Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show Bloomberg donated the money to Taxpayers for Responsible Democracy, a group fighting the recall campaigns against both state Senate President John Morse (D) and state Sen. Angela Giron (D), according to the newspaper. Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns group backed the gun measures, which passed the Democratic-controlled Colorado legislature.

Bloomberg isn't the first out-of-state politician to jump into the recall fray. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-NY) Off The Sidelines PAC sent out a fundraising email Tuesday in support of Giron, while former Rep. Gabby Giffords' (D-AZ) gun group ran an ad in support of Morse.

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) weighed in Tuesday night on state Sen. Wendy Davis' (D) ability to run for governor, saying she doesn't stand a chance running for statewide office.

"It’s my hope, my friends, that about a year from now that people are saying, ‘Why were we talking about Wendy Davis?’” Dewhurst said at a meeting of the Tarrant County Republican National Hispanic Assembly in Fort Worth, Texas, as quoted by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“I know Wendy Davis,” he added. “And I don’t think she stands a chance running for statewide office.”

Davis, who catapulted to national attention with her marathon filibuster of an abortion bill earlier this year, has said that she will either run for reelection to her state Senate seat or the governor's office in 2014. That announcement could come after Labor Day, according to the Star-Telegram.

PBS's "NewsHour" co-hosts Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff plan to sit down with President Barack Obama at the White House for an interview scheduled to air Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, the network announced

The president is expected to discuss how civil rights and economic opportunity have progressed since the March on Washington five decades ago, as well as news topics including the conflict in Syria.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is expected to travel to Iowa this fall to be featured as the guest speaker at the Polk County Republican's fall dinner, the Des Moines Register reported Tuesday.

The event on Nov. 7 will be Perry's first appearance in Iowa since his unsuccessful bid in the 2012 presidential election. The Texas governor announced in July that he would not seek a fourth term, but did not rule out a potential 2016 presidential campaign. 

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Tuesday that it "would be very difficult" for President Barack Obama to legalize all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. by executive order.

Asked at a forum on immigration reform in Mesa, Ariz. whether he believed Obama could unilaterally legalize all undocumented immigrants just as he deferred deportation of DREAMers, or undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, in 2012, Flake said he couldn't see that scenario playing out.

"That would be very difficult to do. I don't think that could happen," Flake said. "I know there's concern that the president has moved beyond his constitutional mandate on certain issues, but I can't see that happening."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), himself a major immigration reform proponent, suggested earlier this month that if Congress fails to act Obama may be "tempted" to issue an executive order that would legalize undocumented immigrants without guaranteeing key reforms like border security.