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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

Wary Americans: Only 22 percent say the economy is going to improve

Yes, about that U.S. economy: Wary Americans remain in a defensive posture when it comes to their pocketbooks, and for good reason. A majority still have some serious financial issues, with only 22 percent feeling confident that the economy will improve - with Democrats more hopeful than their Republican counterparts. Published September 8, 2014

Midterm results in state elections offered a mixed bag, with teacher unions prevailing in California, while Republicans retained two hotly contested governorships in Wisconsin and Florida, where education issues played a role on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The cost to educate young illegal immigrants over $761 million - a bill for all 50 states

The complexities of illegal immigration continue. One new estimate places the annual cost for state governments to educate unaccompanied minor immigrants at $761,405,907 a year, this according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a non-profit interest group which based its findings on federal data. Tax-payer funded classes conducted in Spanish or indigenous languages, plus free school meals contribute to the cost. Published September 8, 2014

Book reveals secrets and lies behind the Benghazi scandal

In bookstores Tuesday: "The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don't Want You to Know," by Aaron Klein. He tells Inside the Beltway that his investigative book shows the Obama administration "has lost all credibility and will not hesitate to outright lie to the American public, even at the expense of our safety" — and that the administration "cannot be trusted with U.S. national security." Mr. Klein has much on his mind. Published September 8, 2014

President Obama has been called "Deporter in Chief" by a Hispanic advocacy group critical of his immigration policy. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)

Hispanics vexed with the 'Deporter in Chief'

"The president meets the press. Will he meet with undocumented immigrants?" asks Pablo Alvarado, director of National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a Los Angeles-based grass-roots membership group. "We feel strongly that undocumented immigrants are the most qualified people to persuade President Obama to do the right thing at this moment." Published September 7, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, in Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Christie took a spin on the international stage Wednesday, bringing state business to Mexico City and testing his diplomatic savvy as he considers a run for U.S. president in 2016. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Hola? Chris Christie won't speak any Spanish during his trade mission to Mexico

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being prudent during his three-day trade mission to Mexico. Though it may seem an unlikely match, there's a certain coziness between his state and the border nation: New Jersey exported $2.1 billion in goods to Mexico in 2013; the Garden State also imported $3.4 billion from Mexico. And of interest: Mr. Christie won 51 percent of the Hispanic vote during his 2013 re-election. Published September 4, 2014

A presidential campaign ad from 2007 by Mitt Romney has found a new fan base, resurfacing online with the title, "You Were Warned," heeded by those seeking clarity during alarming times. (Associated Press)

Mitt Romney's old Jihadist warning gets a replay

A Mitt Romney presidential campaign ad from Oct. 12, 2007 has found a new fan base: It has resurfaced online with the title "You Were Warned," heeded by those seeking clarity in alarming times, and as the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches. Published September 4, 2014

Vice President Joseph R. Biden galvanized the press and jolted the public when he vowed to pursue the Islamic State "to the gates of Hell" during an appearance at a New Hampshire shipyard Wednesday. (Associated Press)

He's fiery, he's passionate: The press fixates on Biden's big 'hell' moment

Well it's one way to galvanize the press and jolt the public. Several hundred news accounts appeared within an hour of Vice President Joseph R. Biden's vow to pursue the Islamic State "to the gates of Hell" during an appearance at a New Hampshire shipyard on Wednesday. Published September 3, 2014

FILE - This Aug. 20, 2014, file photo shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., as he speaks at the Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance headquarters in Louisville, Ky. The top prize of the November midterm elections is control of the Senate for the final two years of President Barack Obama’s administration, with Republicans needing to pick up six more seats to take over. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

Endangered Democrats: 9 out of 10 'most vulnerable' senators are Dems

It's not easy to be named to a has-been list, but such is life for lawmakers, even powerful lawmakers. Roll Call has issued its top 10 list of the "most vulnerable" senators; a list for House members will be issued Wednesday. For now, though, nine Democrats and one Republican — Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — are on the endangered list. Published September 2, 2014

Incoming Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan (Washington Post photo)

The Washington Post makes room for a Republican publisher

Changes of command often occupy the most complicated areas of the media marketplace. In quick succession, a family dynasty is about to end at The Washington Post when Katharine Weymouth steps down as publisher on October 1, to be replaced by one Frederick J. Ryan, Jr. Ms. Weymouth was advised of impending change by Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos in mid-August; the news organization went public with it on Tuesday. Published September 2, 2014

This Jan. 23, 2013 shows then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifying on Capitol Hill on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Here comes Benghazi, The Investigation

The 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is nine days off, bringing a certain disquiet to the nation, along with newly realized resolve. Recent polls consistently reveal a public that is more hawk than dove; Americans approve of airstrikes against Islamic State fighters, while majorities say the Obama administration's approach to the challenge is not aggressive enough. Published September 1, 2014

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2011 file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton, listen to speakers in Washington. The Clintons will headline the annual steak fry on Sept. 14, 2014, for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, making a big return to the leadoff caucus state as the former secretary of state considers another presidential campaign. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

O'Hillary: The Ready for Hillary superpac journeys to Ireland, raises $50,000

O'Hillary? Or oh, Hillary? Fundraise for Hillary Clinton in Ireland: faith and begorra, that’s exactly what Ready for Hillary did. The independent grass-roots activist group traveled all the way to Ballsbridge — that’s an exclusive suburb of Dublin — to raise $50,000 for Mrs. Clinton, a potential White House candidate. Published September 1, 2014

"One Generation Away, a feature-length documentary, explores the erosion of religious freedom in America - and debuted in a church. (Image from EchoLight Studios)

Rick Santorum by-passes Hollywood and debuts his feature-length movie in a church

He continues to appear on presidential straw polls. Now he is taking on politically correct culture and the bullies of the public realm. That would be Rick Santorum, CEO of the independent EchoLight Studios, which have already produced significant films that support faith and family values. Like Glenn Beck, Mr. Santorum has joined a growing group of feisty media folk who are bypassing Hollywood, and heading straight for the grassroots with their work. Religious freedom is at stake here, he says. And commercial theaters are an afterthought. Published August 29, 2014

FILE - This Aug. 28, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement the U.S. still lacks a strategy for defeating the growing extremist threat emanating from Syria reflects a still unformed international coalition. The president will meet with his top advisers and consult members of Congress to prepare U.S. military options. At the same time, he is looking for allies around the world to help the U.S. root out the Islamic State group that has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

What time of crisis? Three White House fundraisers this weekend

President Obama journeys to the well-heeled countryside of Westchester County, New York, on Friday to attend a pair of "Barbecue with Barack" events for the Democratic National Committee — one quite a substantial party, the other a more intimate "roundtable" affair. Published August 28, 2014

** FILE ** Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and his former vice presidential running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrive for a dinner at the Union Club on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Chicago. Ryan is on tour to promote the book as he weighs a presidential campaign of his own. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Could Mitt Mania lead to Ryan Renaissance?

Mitt Mania continues, with potential: The public rediscovery of Mitt Romney may evolve into a renaissance for Rep. Paul Ryan if time and circumstance are right. But for now, Iowa loves Mr. Romney more than any other Republican: In a field of 14 potential GOP presidential candidates, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday find him in the very far lead. Published August 28, 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