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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

NRA chief Wayne LaPierre has asked President Obama to join him in a one-on-one debate about gun control in a new video. (Image from NRA video)

NRA chief Wayne LaPierre invites Obama to a one-on-one gun debate

The National Rifle Association has taken cryptic note of the White House lately, following President Obama's constant push toward gun control as a part of his legacy. NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre says that Mr. Obama has chosen to attack "what he misunderstands most about America--the Second Amendment, gun owners and the NRA." Mr. La Pierre also has issued an invitation to the president via a public video message. Published January 14, 2016

Not so crowded: The main GOP debate on Thursday features six candidates, including Sen. Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, seen here in a previous showdown. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The GOP debate: And then there were seven

The GOP presidential debate field is finally shrinking, down to seven on the main stage at the sixth Republican prime-time debate on Thursday, this one hosted by the Fox Business Network. The A-team for the bout: Donald Trump, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, plus Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich -- who both have displayed surprising resilience in a volatile White House marketplace. The contenders met the qualifying popularity threshold in 17 national polls conducted through mid-December. Published January 13, 2016

The countdown is underway for CPAC, which begins exactly seven weeks from Wednesday. (American Conservative Union)

Cheer up: The CPAC countdown now underway

It is a reassuring glow on the horizon: That would be CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, now exactly seven weeks off and bustling with intense plans and a clear sense of mission. The ever-growing speakers roster includes Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Reps. Jim Jordan and Marsha Blackburn, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and John R. Bolton. Some 200 speakers typically appear at the three-day event, now scheduled for March 2-5, staged once again at the sparkling Gaylord National Resort on the banks of the Potomac River a few miles south of the nation's capital. Published January 12, 2016

Republican lawmakers will sit through President Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday evening. (Associated Press)

State of the Union finale: Dithering media, small talk, one useless prop

Both news media and the White House are in a dither over President Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday night, ramping up the drama and framing the event as an act of breathless significance and gravitas. It's all for naught, says one presidential historian. Published January 11, 2016

A solar powered guardian device under development at NASA is meant to push a threatening asteroid off course, and away from Earth.  It is part of a new planetary defense effort by the federal space agency against threats from asteroids, comets and other inbound objects.  (Image from NASA)

Relieved? NASA opens Planetary Defense Coordination Office

If a monster asteroid is headed towards Earth, perhaps the planet is a little more prepared. NASA announced Friday that its new Planetary Defense Coordination Office is now open for business, tasked with a succinct mission: to track and characterizing all asteroids and comets that get too close to Earth's orbit, and figure out a response to "potential impact threats." Published January 9, 2016

Former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton has endorsed 16 members of Congress running for re-election; his PAC will contribute $100,000 to them to maintain House and Senate majorities. (Associatd Press)

U.S. Muslim population projected to double

Based on a new demographic projection, Pew Research Center senior religion analyst Besheer Mohamed now estimates there are 3.3 million Muslims in the U.S. -- a number expected to reach over 8 million by 2050. "Recent political debates in the U.S. over Muslim immigration and related issues have prompted many to ask how many Muslims actually live in the United States. Published January 7, 2016

Libertarian Gary Johnson is running for president for a second time and is ready to rumble. (Gary Johnson 2016/A

The original outsider candidate: Gary Johnson next up to vie for vexed voters

The role of outsider candidate is a very popular one. Presidential hopefuls from both sides of the aisle now eagerly flaunt their status as can-do alternatives for voters weary of status quo politics. Now they have competition from Libertarian Gary Johnson, who's been honing his outsider craft since he ran for president in 2012, when he created a unique campaign culture and nabbed 1 percent of the vote. Denied a spot on the official debate podium that year, he staged his own version at the National Press Club with other third-party hopefuls, broadcast live on RT -- a Russian TV network. Published January 6, 2016

New "augmented reality" owner's manuals for cars enhance vehicle management and mesh with smartphone technology. (Autotrader)

Driving force: 77% of Americans now say enhanced car technology more important than color

The pearl white exterior is not as important as the back-up camera these days. Given the choice, 77 percent of Americans now say that their technology in their car is more important than it color, and they will buy accordingly. More than two thirds would switch from one auto manufacturer to another to get exactly what they want. So say a new Autotrader consumer survey, which is tracking a distincy change in direction among drivers. Published January 6, 2016

In this May 21, 2015 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The Speaker is now a speaker: John Boehner joins the public speaking circuit, heads to Vegas

The Speaker is now a speaker. Former House Speaker John Boehner has joined the public speaking circuit. Some two months after he resigned from his post on Capitol Hill, Mr. Boehner has emerged as the keynote speaker for a business summit staged by Managed Health Care Associates, and it's done up with style, scheduled for early March at the very swank Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Published January 5, 2016

Fox News host Megyn Kelly is the subject of a cover story in the February issue of Vanity Fair. (Image from Vanity Fair)

The unconstitutionality index: 3,408 new federal regulations, 87 laws

The nation continues to be a playground for government overreach. Behold the telling numbers, courtesy of Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president for policy for the ever-vigilant Competitive Enterprise Institute. While lawmakers struggle with cranky gridlock, federal agencies are only too happy to issue regulations at alarming rates. Published January 4, 2016