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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

** FILE ** Former Rep. Ron Paul describes his new website as a "digital bully pulpit" for early-stage political ideas. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Frugal-phobic Congress offers 828 spending bills

Old habits die hard. During the first session of the 113th Congress, members of the U.S. House authored 496 spending bills, compared with 112 bills that would save money. U.S. senators, meanwhile, drafted 332 increase bills and 56 savings bills. Published July 23, 2014

Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Thomas H. Keane (left) and former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, Indiana Democrat, have overseen a follow-up to the 9/11 Commission Report.  (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: The evolving White House deflection strategy

Press and public are aware that President Obama will appear at five Democratic fundraisers by the time Thursday rolls around, despite alarming events here and abroad. Initially, the White House reasoned that in times of unrest, business as usual rather than crisis management was the tactic of choice on the world stage. But that's not quite good enough now. Published July 22, 2014

Arkansas gubernatorial hopeful Asa Hutchison has drawn support from GOP powerhouses Mitt Romney and Chris Christie, who will campaign for him in the state next month.

Inside the Beltway: White House fundraising — never a dull moment

Learned presidential advisers reason that in times of international turmoil, it's better for the White House to conduct business as usual rather than shift into crisis mode. Who needs it? With that in mind, perhaps, President Obama is off on a West Coast fundraising jaunt on Tuesday. So fire up Air Force One, please; he journeys to Seattle for two private fundraisers on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. The locations are swank waterfront homes, the guests number in the hundreds, tickets run as high as $32,400 and the hosts include Costco founder Jim Sinegal. Published July 21, 2014

When it comes to unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. illegally, Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, has kind words but stern policy proposals. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Putin popularity soars in Russia

Americans might do well to review the pivotal points of the Cold War when the old Soviet Union was in full aggressive posture, billed as a "bear" on the public stage. Russia appears to be looking for a repeat performance while new polling reveals a confident population, suggesting that persistent rumors of "Cold War Nostalgia" in the nation could be genuine. Some current numbers: President Vladimir Putin now has an 83 percent approval rating among Russians — his best numbers in years, this according to a Gallup poll of face-to-face interviews with 2,000 Russians released Friday. Published July 20, 2014

Chris Christie

The Republican parade begins: Eight GOP heavyweights head to Iowa

With the Bridgegate scandal in his rear view mirror, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been re-establishing his public presence, and now visits Iowa with much on his agenda. He is just the start of a long parade of Republicans who will journey to the state in the next few weeks, led by Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Rick Perry, among many others. Published July 17, 2014

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Ready to rumble: Ready for Warren Vs. Ready for Hillary

Looks like the high profile political action committee Ready for Hillary has some company. Launched Tuesday, is a new campaign website to support a potential presidential run by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Published July 16, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to political fundraising events in Iowa.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)

Inside the Beltway: The 2016 fringe candidates come a-runnin'

The outsiders, the also-rans, the determined individualists — the Federal Election Commission has been besieged by presidential candidate filings from lesser-known Americans in "a massive uptick" compared to the 2012 presidential race. Published July 16, 2014

** FILE ** Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Roosevelt Institute Honors after receiving the groups Freedom Medal, the institutes highest honor, during a dinner in Washington, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Progressive-Palooza: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren head to 'Netroots Nation' this week

It must be an election year - which could worry one political party in particular. Vice President Joe Biden himself is among the Democratic heavyweights who will attend Netroots Nation, which begins on Thursday in Detroit and is billed as "the largest gathering of progressives and the Democratic activist base" by organizers. Published July 15, 2014

National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised $7.2 million, though the good doctor has not yet committed to making a run for the White House. (The Washington Times)

Inside the Beltway: America still dreams of 'President' Ben Carson

There's something about Ben Carson that gives many Americans great pause. Perhaps it is his plainspoken logic and calm demeanor that resonates with those who wish the former pediatric neurosurgeon and best-selling author would run for president. They are willing to put their money where their thoughts are. In less than a year, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised $7.2 million; Dr. Carson is not involved with this new political action committee, which now boasts 95,000 individual donors and 17,000 volunteers. Published July 15, 2014

Maryland Republican Dan Bongino says President Obama should play less golf in times of crisis.  (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Inside the Beltway: Surprise: the world still likes America

"A country's brand is a valued commodity, especially when that nation is the world's largest economic and strategic power. And, in 2014, America's image remains strong in much of the world," states a surprisingly forthright, massive analysis of "global attitudes" from the Pew Research Center which found, essentially, that much of the planet still likes America. Published July 14, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will meet with President Obama in Dallas to discuss the situation at the state's border with Mexico.  (Associated Press)

Rick Perry's burden: Texas already spent $500 million on border crisis

Critics say Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to politicize the border crisis only to bolster a potential White House run in 2016. Yes, there could be some of that going on, but Mr. Perry also has a succinct reason for speaking out, loudly and often, about the surge of young illegal immigrants: The Lone Star State has already spent a half-billion dollars on the situation. Published July 14, 2014

Sandra Fluke, the former Georgetown University law student who testified on birth control and was subjected to denigrating comments by radio host Rush Limbaugh, is running for the California state Senate to represent the coastal communities of Los Angeles. She finished second in the primary behind another Democrat, Ben Allen.  (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Inside the Beltway: White House grade slips to 'F'

Inquiring minds wonder if there's a "G" in the grading repertoire. And that does not stand for "good." Pollster John Zogby has given President Obama an "F" this week for the White House performance on the global stage, and the researcher has no imminent good news for the president. Published July 13, 2014

In this June 25, 2014, photo, a ladybug crawls on a marijuana plant at Sea of Green Farms, a recreational pot grower in Seattle. Ladybugs are used to control pests that could otherwise damage the plants. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Pot reluctance: Presidential hopefuls get skittish talking about weed

Political observers say presidential hopefuls in both parties are increasingly reluctant to weigh in on the legalization of marijuana, either for medicinal or recreational use. It's complicated. The law enforcement backgrounds of many elected officials creates some hesitation around the pot issue. Published July 11, 2014

The Supreme Court building in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014, following various court decisions. The court ruled on birth control, union fees and other cases. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Got justice? 60 percent of Americans say Supreme Court 'gets too mixed up in politics'

Despite low public profiles, justices in the U.S. Supreme Court have not escaped public scrutiny. The nation pays particular attention when high profile cases draw media attention, and controversy. And now the public has weighed in on the court itself. A new survey finds that 60 percent of Americans now say the entire Supreme Court "gets too mixed up in politics." Published July 10, 2014

Martha McSally, a retired Air Force colonel and a former fighter pilot, is among the "national security" candidates who've won campaign support of former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton. She is running for a U.S. House seat in Arizona.

Inside the Beltway: Bolton bolsters the 'national security' candidate

Americans must have considerable interest in supporting "national security candidates" as the planet grows more dangerous and the midterm elections approach. John R. Bolton reports that between his political action committee and super PAC, he's raised a cool $2.3 million in the second quarter of the year, with a record $4 million to date and $3 million cash on hand. Published July 10, 2014

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) ** FILE **

Journalists to Obama: Whatever happened to that new 'era of openness'?

Thirty-eight national journalism groups have written their own headlines about the state of press relations with the White House, and the federal government in general. In an open letter to President Obama, the Society of Professional Journalists and other organizations have demanded a change of policy for federal agencies that allows more access, and less official intervention from public information offices. Published July 9, 2014