Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who last year pushed a measure defunding Obamacare to a bill to fund the government, will give the Tea Party response to President Obama's State of the Union speech on Jan. 28, the Tea Party Express announced Tuesday.

"For the Tea Party movement, 2014 is not just about taking back the Senate, but it is also about putting forward conservative ideas that will allow for America to prosper," Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said in a statement. "Senator Mike Lee has been both a Tea Party hero for supporters across the nation, and a conservative leader in the Upper Chamber."

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) office on Sunday rebutted Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's claims that Christie officials withheld Sandy relief funds because she did not fast-track a real estate development project supported by the governor.

"Hoboken has in no way trailed similarly situated communities in the receipt of rebuilding funds," a release obtained by the Newark Star-Ledger read. "Hoboken has not been denied on a single grant application for recovery efforts under the current programs for which they are eligible."

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) on Sunday said that the New Jersey assembly's investigation into the bridge scandal surrounding Gov. Chris Christie (R) is a "partisan witch hunt."

Giuliani said that because Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), who is leading the assembly's investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures, should step down because he said last week that it was "unbelievable" that none of Christie's aides told him about the plan.

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This post has been updated.

President Obama said he felt that marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol and that he is troubled by the disproportionate jail time served by minorities for marijuana use.

"I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life," he said in an interview with The New Yorker published Sunday. "I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol."

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New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), who has led the assembly's investigation into the bridge scandal, on Sunday said his committee will look into claims made by Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Dawn Zimmerman that Gov. Chris Christie's office withheld Sandy relief aid over a real estate development project.

"Mayor Zimmer is a serious voice. She's a well-respected mayor in New Jersey. I think we have to give the allegations serious thought because it is a pattern that we've heard time and time again throughout New Jersey," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "She's perhaps one of the first mayors to come forward and say this specific thing happened."

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Sunday said she believes that phone records collected by the National Security Agency should not be held by a third party, which President Obama is considering.

"The whole purpose of this program is to provide instantaneous information to be able to disrupt any plot that may be taking place," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press," arguing that the NSA needs quick access to records in order to prevent terrorist attacks.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday defended the country's recently enacted law that bans pro-gay "propaganda" around minors and said that people visiting for the Sochi Winter Olympics will not have an issue.

"It seems to me that the law that we have adopted does not hurt anyone," he said on ABC's "This Week." "Moreover, individuals of non-traditional orientation cannot feel like second-rate humans in this country because they are not discriminated against in any way."

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