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Jennifer Harper

Jennifer Harper

To read Jennifer Harper's Inside the Beltway columns, click here. Contact her at

Articles by Jennifer Harper

Inside the Beltway: Dueling West Coast gun control initiatives

Can big donations shore up shoddy gun control state legislation? No, insists Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a 650,000-member grass-roots organization based in Washington state. Published August 27, 2014

Virginia-based National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee billboards in Des Moines, Iowa, and Baltimore urge the retired pediatric neurosurgeon to make a bid for the White House in 2016.

Ben Carson wins presidential straw poll, wows 'em in Iowa

Well, there you go. Dr. Ben Carson had a heartland victory with a "whopping" 62 percent of the vote in a presidential straw poll conducted at the Polk County Republican Party Dinner on Sunday night, which took place in Des Moines but drew attendees from as far away as Minneapolis, who were anxious to yell "Run, Ben, Run" and witness the good doctor's stirring speech. Published August 27, 2014

Paul Ryan's Reagan moment

Paul Ryan is currently touring the nation with his new book "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea" —and now reminding the public of his significant political pedigree. Published August 26, 2014

A woman smokes a joint at the Fill the Hill marijuana rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Justin Tang)

Leery of weed: Public still not keen on recreational marijuana legalization

Pot vending machines, cannibis-centered news organizations, weed-friendly party planners - the culture of marijuana legalization increases every week. But the public may not be keeping up. Voters in yet another state are confronting the complicated reality of legalization, both pro and con. Published August 25, 2014

Incoming "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd said the job of political reporting is to "demystify Washington" and to translate the public's frustrations with politics. (Associated Press)

End of an era? 'Coffeehouse' conversation comes to 'Meet the Press'

NBC's "Meet the Press" is a historic broadcast entity no matter who's hosting it. The show has been on the air for 57 years, is the longest running TV series in history and has ensured the appeal of talking heads remained a given in American culture. Published August 25, 2014

Just as you suspected: Study proves dogs get jealous too

Yes, dogs get jealous. Dog owners, and even Darwin, have observed this emotionally charged phenomenon among pooches over time. Now a University of California at San Diego study confirms that canines also are affected by the complicated, possessive scenario - the first research to do so. Published August 25, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, despite his earlier troubles this week, has been on a roll, with the media hot on his trail. (Associated Press)

Rick Perry continues his presidential saga with gusto

In less than 48 hours he's gone from a Lone Star jail to the nation's capital to the voter-centric land of New Hampshire, all the while with the news media herd trailing behind him, mooing. Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrives in the Granite State at high noon Friday, when he assumes the starring role in not one but six consecutive political events. Published August 21, 2014

Phone image from Associated Press

Ready for the Stress-Phone? It monitors body functions...

The inventor has received $3 million from the National Science Foundation to perfect smart phones that are smart enough and connected enough to actually monitor the human body. That would be Cornell University engineering professor David Erickson, who will head a multidisciplinary team of investigators who intend to develop devices with specific diagnostics. Published August 20, 2014

Romney and Ryan, together again? Fox News host Megyn Kelly will anchor a joint interview with Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan. (Associated PRess)

'Born again voters' warm to Romney

'Some emerging Republican sentiment about a certain governor would not much surprise the Utah-based "Draft Mitt" grass-roots effort. A new poll of likely GOP primary voters from Zogby Analytics shows Mitt Romney outpolling and outdistancing his nearest rivals for the nomination by a two-to-one margin. Published August 20, 2014

James M. Evans, chairman of the Utah Republican Party and the pointman behind, says the site is part of a national discussion about an improved, better America under a Romney administration. (Associated Press)

Romney's route could still lead to a ballot

He just looks presidential, all confident and centered amid national turmoil, ramped up by incessant media coverage. Yeah, well. That's the Mitt Romney brand. He appears in public as a consistently reassuring presence, campaigning for assorted Republican hopefuls with ease, cheerfulness and focus. Published August 19, 2014

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has sympathized with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who's recent indictment for abuse of power has mesmerized news media. Mrs. Palin recalls similar charges lodged against her garnered many headlines, though she said her vindication was not nearly as well covered. (Associated Press)

Ferguson becomes major media magnet

From President Obama to news officials, everyone agrees that freedom of the press is essential in Ferguson, Missouri — particularly after journalists were arrested, prompting American Society of News Editors President David Boardman to predict, "For every reporter they arrest, every image they block, every citizen they censor, another will still write, photograph and speak." Published August 18, 2014

Candy hearts with clear messages (Image from Associated Press)

Catcalls annoy and offend - but do they warrant arrest?

Americans agree that the street corner practice of catcalling is bad, and a harassment. Then there's the nature of the offense. "Should the police give tickets or even arrest people who make catcalls?" a poll asks. Published August 18, 2014

In this Aug. 13, 2014, photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton holds her memoir "Hard Choices" at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, in Vineyard Haven, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard, during a book signing event for her memoir "Hard Choices."  Clinton's split with President Barack Obama over a foreign policy "organizing principle" isn't likely to be the last time differences emerge between the two. How she handles those breaks could be among her biggest challenges to a successful run for president in 2016. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Democrats: Prepare to batten down the hatches

It's not just political factors that suggest Democrats will not do well in the midterm elections, now 11 weeks away. Public dissatisfaction is also coming into play. A new Gallup poll finds that 76 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in the nation. A mere 22 percent are satisfied — which is exactly what the level was in 2010, the year of another midterm election when Democrats lost 63 seats in the U.S. House alone. Published August 17, 2014

** FILE ** U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during The Family Leadership Summit, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in Ames, Iowa. (Associated Press)

'Witch hunt': Cruz, Jindal rush to defend Gov. Perry after indictment

Defenders of Texas Gov. Rick Perry are stepping forward following his sudden indictment Friday on two felony counts of abuse-of-power charges, relating to the governor's efforts last year to obtain the resignation of a Travis County district attorney. Published August 16, 2014

Demonstrators at the site where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. News crews reporting on the events have been targeted by police, as have protesters. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

What the press learned in Ferguson

The two reporters who were arrested and detained during riots in Ferguson, Missouri, quickly took to the airwaves to share their experiences in visceral style — and that's exactly what the news industry expected them to do. Published August 14, 2014