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Jennifer Harper

Jennifer Harper

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

Articles by Jennifer Harper

Mitt Romney, here with Jay Leno, hosts "Experts and Enthusiasts" with politicians, tycoons, investors and fancy "thought leaders."
(Mitt Romney photograph)

Inside the Beltway: Romney's reinvention

Mitt Romney has returned to public radar: He's no longer the docile guy meandering around the suburbs or grocery shopping in a post-campaign world. He's granting strategic interviews and he's got aggressive notions about the Republican Party, seeking to pull it from a wallow of social issues and combative identity crisis and into a business-minded mode. Published June 5, 2013

Attorney Erika Harold, who was named Miss America 2003, on Tuesday announced her intent to run for U.S. Congress in the 13th Congressional District of Illinois. "I have a pretty thick skin at this point in my life," she said. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Alec Baldwin's fracas

Alec Baldwin is in a fit of pique because Phelim McAleer was nominated by the Independent Oil and Gas Association to serve on a specialist' panel at the upcoming Hamptons International Film Festival, where the anti-fracking film "Gasland Part II" will be showcased. Published June 4, 2013

Those who were not invited to the upcoming Bilderberg Conference near London plan to stage the Bilderberg Fringe Festival just outside the intensely private event.
(Bilderberg Fringe Festival)

Inside the Beltway: Among the few

Among the 140 participants at the Bilderberg Conference that begins Thursday in the spectacular Grove Hotel, some 20 miles northwest of London: American Enterprise Institute fellow Richard Perle, former CIA Director David H. Petraeus, former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, former Treasury secretaries Timothy F. Geithner and Robert Rubin, Washington Post CEO Donald Graham, Stratfor geopolitical analyst Robert Kaplan, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and The Economist Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. Published June 3, 2013

**FILE** Former Rep. Allen B. West (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Go West

Those who recall the Air Force's Strategic Air Command and the intense days of the Cold War will be pleased to know that "peace through strength," the motto of the aforementioned command, is still alive and well, adopted as the philosophy behind the Center for Security Policy. "SAC" was home to a host of formidable bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles from 1946 to 1992. Published June 2, 2013

Former Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson has entered the gun rights arena in Colorado as chairman of Save Our Shotguns.
(The Washington Times)

Inside the Beltway: Trumpaliscious

Donald Trump may glitter, but he's also evergreen. The billionaire's appeal to press and public knows no season, whether he's pondering President Obama's birth certificate or revealing he'd spent $1 million on electoral research for a White House run. Like he did this week. Published May 30, 2013

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is poised to sign a bill into law that amends the state education code to allow schools to acknowledge Christmas without fear of a lawsuit. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Michele Bachmann bashing

Press and pundits erupted with glee following Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement that she would not run for office again. The Minnesota Republican drew much derisive coverage, described in various reports as a "failed presidential candidate" and a "fact checker's dream," among many things. But not everyone was interested in the media pile-on — and they appear convinced that the lawmaker is not done yet. Published May 29, 2013

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly will collaborate with National Geographic to produce "Killing Kennedy," a film project based on his best-selling book of the same name. Rob Lowe, formerly of "The West Wing," is set to play John F. Kennedy. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Chris Christie the noun

Was it the blue-plate special or a bipartisan combo? The pairing of President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got much play in the press after they appeared together Tuesday on behalf of the Garden State's recovery from Superstorm Sandy — urging the public to venture to the seashore, spend money and enjoy themselves. Published May 28, 2013

A biopic about Hillary Rodham Clinton is in the works about her life before she became first lady of Arkansas (pictured), senator, presidential hopeful or secretary of state.

Inside the Beltway: Chelsea as her mother?

Chelsea Clinton already has broadcast experience as an NBC News correspondent. But could she play her own mother, cast in the role of a young Hillary Rodham Clinton in the upcoming independent film "Rodham"? The prospect has been raised by nimble Paddy Power — Europe's largest online betting house. It's already offering odds on which Hollywood starlet would be cast in the film, which chronicles the life of a 20-something Mrs. Clinton decades before she became first lady, senator, presidential hopeful or secretary of state. Published May 27, 2013

Former President George W. Bush rode with 14 veterans during the third annual Warrior 100K ride this past weekend through rough terrain near Waco, Texas. (George W. Bush Institute)

Inside the Beltway: Mottos du jour

Assorted mottos were spotted on vest and jacket patches at the annual Rolling Thunder membership dinner Saturday, including, "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a vet." Published May 26, 2013

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld leans on his time as a Navy pilot with advice for President Obama.

Inside the Beltway: Rumsfeld rule for Obama

Donald H. Rumsfeld has created considerable buzz with his book "Rumsfeld's Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life," which includes 400 advisories for those who would be leaders. Among those rules: American is not what's wrong with the world. If you expect people to be on the landing, include them in the takeoff. If you're coasting, you're going downhill. Published May 23, 2013

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Where's the money?

Hey. Wait a minute. Those conservative groups targeted by the IRS may be needing a little cash in the aftermath, say 26 high-profile conservatives leaders who are calling for new legislation to reimburse the grass-roots folks. The coalition — which includes Richard Viguerie, James Dobson, Ralph Reed, Phyllis Schlafly, David Bossie and Gary Bauer — have contacted House Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, advising the lawmakers that oversight hearings are all well and fine. But where's the money? Published May 22, 2013

Director John O. Brennan on Monday stands before 107 stars at CIA headquarters in Langley representing those who have died in service to the agency since 1947. (CIA)

Inside the Beltway: Persistent birthers

Yes, President Obama's birth certificate was made public two years ago and even emblazoned upon a Democratic fundraiser coffee mug during the 2012 presidential campaign. But the "birther" issue which so intrigued Donald Trump has yet to disappear. Published May 21, 2013

The Tea Party Patriots plan to "rein in the IRS" through nationwide protests at Internal Revenue Service offices on Tuesday as it taps into public outrage. (Tea Party Patriots)

Inside the Beltway: The Big Brew

Delicious irony, perhaps: the tea party has been reinvigorated and reinvented following revelations that its groups' nonprofit status had been singled out and investigated by the IRS. Though a critical news media has tried to purge the conservative, liberty-minded grass-roots movement from the public radar, the tea partyers still push back in huge numbers, and on their own terms. Rush Limbaugh now deems the tea party "fearless." Published May 20, 2013

Kenneth Starr now heads Baylor University after a career in law that included a stint as special prosecutor in the Monica Lewinsky matter. Some Republicans, including Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, want a special prosecutor to investigate the current IRS scandal.

Inside the Beltway: The Culture Count

Like a bad restaurant, the Obama administration attracts scathing reviews from Republicans and conservative critics who are tired of what's on the policy menu, and repelled by the signature "culture" of White House operations. The trio of scandals centered on Benghazi, the IRS and the Justice Department has ramped up the tirade, and until facts and conclusions emerge, the talk of the moment is culture-centric. Published May 19, 2013

Clad in leather and flanked by fans of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker helps foster the love for the Milwaukee-based classic in China.

Inside the Beltway: Harleys in China

A noisy cultural moment, and a lucrative one: China has embraced Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Witness the fact that 1,000 Chinese Harley lovers recently roared into Qian Dao Lake, Zhejiang Province, decked out in black leather, skull masks and Viking warrior helmets. Or no helmets. The Beijing-style bikers were there to celebrate the 110th birthday of the iconic, all-American brand. Published May 16, 2013

According to the likely 2016 presidential matchups in a Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton leads among Democrats with 63 percent of the votes, well ahead of Vice President Joseph R. Biden at 13 percent and a couple of other Democrats in single digits.

Inside the Beltway: And in summation ...

"These are the tactics of the Third World." — Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican,on the combined effects of the Benghazi matter, the Justice Department seizure of Associated Press phone records and the IRS probe of conservative groups, before the Senate. Published May 15, 2013

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's new book offers 400 rules for life, business, politics and other stuff, such as "America's economy was built on fortitude, not fear," and "Stay in your lane" is not my favorite phrase. (Image from

Inside the Beltway: Rules a la Rumsfeld

America is not what is wrong with the world. If you expect people to be in on the landing, include them in the takeoff. You get what you inspect, not what you expect. If you're coasting, you're going downhill. Published May 14, 2013

Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of The Associated Press, calls the Justice Department's gathering of two months worth of phone records from AP "serious interference with AP's constitutional rights to gather and report news."
(associated press)

Inside the Beltway: AP plays hardball

News coverage was swift and straightforward following revelations that the Justice Department secretly had obtained two months worth of phone records from The Associated Press, an action the wire service President and CEO Gary Pruitt deemed an "unprecedented intrusion" and "serious interference with AP's constitutional rights to gather and report news," in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made public on Monday. Those are fighting words from Mr. Pruitt, the former CEO of news syndicate McClatchey Co., who has been on the job just over a year. Published May 13, 2013