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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

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday granted pardons to 83 people. An announcement by Brown's office said that each person has been out of state prison for at least 10 years and leads a productive life with no new criminal convictions. Most of them had been convicted of drug and robbery cases. (Associated Press)

And so 2016 begins: Ted Cruz critics arrive like clockwork

When Republican presidential posturing turns into definitive action, the critics come out like clockwork. It happened last week when Donald Trump announced he had formed a presidential exploratory committee and was immediately met with accusations he was disingenuous, unqualified or seeking publicity. Now it is Sen. Ted Cruz's turn. Published March 22, 2015

Voters head to the polls at Benton Harbor High School on Election Day Tuesday, November 4, 2014, in Benton Harbor, Mich.(AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)

Americans define perfect presidential candidate: 'Someone willing to change Barack Obama's policies'

"If you could create the perfect candidate to succeed Barack Obama as president, what would their background be and what would they think?" asks CNN polling director Jennifer Agiesta, who has a new survey that reveals this: "Most Americans say they would like a candidate who's a seasoned political leader, someone with an executive background, and someone who’s willing to change Barack Obama's policies." Published March 22, 2015

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. (associated press)

Republicans talk of an imperial presidency - and royalty visits the White House

Stand back, now. "The Rise of the Imperial Presidency" was the official theme for the Republican National Lawyers Association gathered to celebrate the august organization's 30th anniversary with a conference and private reception, plus a bristling guest list that included Sens. Bob Corker, Rob Portman, John McCain and Orrin Hatch; Rep. Susan Brooks; former Attorney General John Ashcroft; and former FCC Chairman John Wiley, among others. Published March 19, 2015

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. speaks at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum in Washington, Monday, March 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) ** FILE **

Over half of likely voters say Democrats 'should look for a fresh face' in 2016: Poll

Most likely voters think the Democratic Party should look for a presidential newcomer in 2016, says a Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday. Fifty-four percent of all likely U.S. voters believe Democrats should "look for a fresh face to run for president in 2016 rather than promote a candidate who has already run in the past," the survey says. Published March 19, 2015

(AP Photo illustration/Damian Dovarganes, File)

McCaul warns of cyber outlaws: Digital frontier 'like the Wild West'

A Texas Republican offers a dire description: "As I speak, government computer systems are being hacked, proprietary data is being stolen from American companies, and the computers of private citizens are being compromised. And most of it is being done with impunity. Criminals, hacktivists, terrorists, and nation-states have managed to exploit our networks by staying at the cutting edge of technology. In the meantime, our defenses have lagged behind," Rep. Mike McCaul told an audience at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Published March 18, 2015

President-in-waiting: Trump trumps his critics

It is inevitable political theater: Donald Trump has formed an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign, and like clockwork, the Democratic National Committee couldn't wait to capitalize on it. Mr. Trump made his announcement with customary flourish and candor, fascinating fans and annoying rivals. Published March 18, 2015

News organization officials have become nimble keeping their products up to speed in an evolving marketplace. ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO

News organizations retool operations, go for 'obsession journalism' and niche news

Just as the public gets comfortable with such journalism staples as trending stories and viral news comes a new phenomenon: "Obsession journalism." The media may be annoying, but news organizations are racing to redefine their turf and content to stay afloat in an unforgiving and highly competitive marketplace. Published March 18, 2015

Donald Trump (Associated Press) **FILE**

Donald Trump launches presidential exploratory committee: 'Americans deserve better'

Donald Trump has formed an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign, and has done so with typical big city flair. "I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble. We have lost the respect of the entire world. Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians – who are all talk and no action! I have built a great company, created thousands of jobs and built a tremendous net worth with some of the finest and most prestigious assets in the world – and very little debt! All Americans deserve the same opportunity," Mr. Trump said in a a statement released Wednesday. Published March 18, 2015

Veteran broadcaster Larry King will be feted at the Newseum for a career that has spanned decades. (Image courtesy of Larry King)

Larry King's secret of success: 'Just a regular guy' who asks one-sentence questions

For a man who has interviewed seven presidents and 50,000 assorted luminaries over a career spanning decades, Larry King has a simple rule for success. "What I do, I've been doing for 58 years. I'm not doing anything differently now than I did in 1957 when I started. I take my curiosity - and I make a living with it," Mr. King said in an interview with The Washington Times. Published March 17, 2015

Life there, once upon a time? NASA scientists say a primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth's Arctic Ocean. (NASA/GSFC)

Library of Congress explores the implications of 'selfhood' and extraterrestrial life

Space, the final frontier for academia? On Wednesday and Thursday, the Library of Congress will focus on revelations in astrobiology, and there's a big title: "Astrobiology and the Religious Imagination: Reexamining Notions of Creation, Humanity, Selfhood, and the Cosmos." For the uninitiated, astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary field which deals in extraterrestrial matters, asking "How does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth and, if so, how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe?" Published March 17, 2015

Veteran broadcaster Larry King is in the nation's capital to celebrate 58 years in the news and interview business. (Ora TV)

Larry King: A man who actually listens

Veteran broadcaster Larry King is in the nation's capital for a fancy fete on Wednesday to honor his long career — 58 years and counting — and review the parade of people he has interviewed over the decades. Indeed, Mr. King, 81, has sat opposite some 50,000 luminaries, including seven presidents, politicians, actors, athletes, media mavens, the famous and the infamous. Published March 17, 2015

Half of federal video surveillance footage goes unanalyzed says a new MeriTalk report, which also says the footage has "untapped potential." (Associated Press)

54 percent of federal video surveillance footage goes unanalyzed - with 3.3 trillion hours to come

Smile for the cameras, which continue to catalog life as we know it in the name of security. But new research finds that 54 percent of video surveillance at federal agencies never gets examined, this according to "Video Vortex," a new MeriTalk analysis that tapped the opinions of 151 security managers and IT analysts from the federal and Defense communities. Published March 16, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton answers questions at a news conference at the United Nations, Tuesday, March 10, 2015.   Clinton conceded that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of "convenience." (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Paying attention: 65 percent of Americans 'closely' following Hillary's email controversy

It's not the vast right wing conspiracy ramping up rumors and hearsay into a perfect storm of lousy press for Hillary Clinton. Americans themselves are tracking the unfolding controversy over Mrs. Clinton's use of private emails during her time as Secretary of State: 65 percent say they are "closely" following the story; 78 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats agree, says a new YouGov poll: Published March 16, 2015

Armstrong Williams (Credit: Howard Stirk Holdings)

Next up on Armstrong Williams 'Right Side Forum' - the matter of states' rights

"The Right Side Forum," an hour-long news and talk show hosted by columnist Armstrong Williams, looks into the complicated world of states' rights during its next broadcast. The show, which debuted in January, airs live on Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. on News Channel 8 in the Washington, D.C. area, and repeats again at 6:30 p.m. Published March 13, 2015

** FILE ** Former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton (Associated Press)

John Bolton back in action, endorsing three 'national security' candidates

The man who endorsed 87 "national security" candidates and donated close to $500,000 during the 2014 midterms is back in action. Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton announced Thursday that he was backing Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana in his gubernatorial quest in the state; Rep. Ron DeSantis, the incumbent Congressman from Florida's 6th district, and Dr. Paul Chabot, candidate for Congress in California's 31st district. Published March 12, 2015

Just-cut stacks of $100 bills make their way down the production line at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Billionaires? The world has 1,826 of them - and 541 live in America

There’s lots of billionaires out there — 1,826, to be exact, according to recent painstaking research of Forbes magazine. Mote than a third prefer the urbane and urban life, and the Big Apple is the town of choice. The publication says that with 78 resident billionaires, New York City has the largest uber-rich population on the planet. But wait, there’s more. Published March 12, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be among a crowd of potential Republican presidential candidates to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference. (Associated Press)

Scott Walker earns intense GOP approval: 79 percent of Republicans call him a 'strong leader'

Republicans definitely have distinct good feelings about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the wrangling continues between the GOP presidential hopefuls. Yes, Mr. Walker is making all the required campaign stops and grassroots visits in New Hampshire, Iowa and other key states - while his reputation and image win over many Republican hearts and minds. Published March 12, 2015