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

Articles by Catherine

To her supporters, Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne is a tough-as-nails politician who's not afraid to take on Islam.

To her critics, Van Duyne is a fear-monger who stokes the flames of Islamophobia.

So both Van Duyne's fans and foes can surely find a talking point in the Monday incident where Irving police arrested 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school that they thought looked like a "movie bomb."

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Scott Walker sits with his hands folded at a desk on the set of a public television news program. He glances at the blonde anchorman across from him, then down at his hands, then back at the anchor.

The baby-faced Walker, who's just 24 years old and representing the Wisconsin Republican Party, has spent roughly the last half-hour verbally sparring with former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon and Louisiana state representative David Duke. The Wisconsin residents calling into the program, "Smith & Co," have been berating him, too. Walker is staring down at his hands every other time the camera cuts to him.

The year is 1992 and the topic at hand is whether Duke should be allowed on the Wisconsin presidential primary ballot as a Republican. The anchorman, Joe Smith, asks Walker to predict how the state's bipartisan ballot selection committee will decide.

"I would certainly hope it's gonna be a majority opposed to putting him on the ballot," Walker says, pursing his lips.

Duke's upper body calls out from a TV screen on the wall behind the desk: "Shame on you, Scott Walker, shame on you." He's speaking from New Orleans via satellite.

With his eyes still lowered, Walker shakes his head a little and opens his hands as if to shrug, "Well, what can you do."

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