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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

Inside the Beltway: The celebrity president

The leader of the Free World was once just that – a canny stalwart with gravitas intact, ready to take on evil empires, stock market crashes, terrorists, Communism. Yes, once. Celebrity appears to have taken over the office, however, a phenomenon that likely got its start when Bill Clinton broke ranks with the adult population in 1992, donned cool shades and played "Heartbreak Hotel" on his tenor saxophone on late-night TV when he was pursuing the White House. Published October 3, 2012

Rep. Scott Tipton, Colorado Republican, sits in on debate coverage with Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto on Wednesday night. (image from Rep. Tipton)

Inside the Beltway: Into the jaws

The most worrisome time for Mitt Romney could be post-podium, when the presidential debate ends and the elite press descends, to gnaw on his words until voters are left with just a few bits of red meat — and lots of pre-digested conclusions. Published October 2, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Teachable moment

"President Obama needs to learn that being president isn't just about being on TV and protecting your job. It's about leadership. it's time for a president who gets it." At least that's what the latest American Crossroads campaign ad says. Published October 1, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Debate forecast

"Unlike 2008, President Obama goes into the debates with a record. But it's a record he'd rather not talk about," says Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer. Published September 30, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Debate = Party

Oh well, who can blame the University of Denver for turning the first presidential debate into a big fat party? Welcome to "Debate Fest." Published September 27, 2012

Al Gore will anchor the Current TV coverage with Jennifer Granholm, Eliot Spitzer and Cenk Uygur when President Obama and Mitt Romney debate next Wednesday. (image from Current TV)

Inside the Beltway: More Gore

Al Gore missed the Democratic National Convention, prompting murmurs that the former vice president has been irked at the White House for one reason or another. Published September 26, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Weather or not

Serious research from the Weather Channel reveals that lousy weather on Election Day could impact turnout for a "substantial" number of voters, with the most dithering among undecided voters. Published September 25, 2012

Astronaut and naval aviator Neil Armstrong has inspired a new class of ocean research vessels that can map the deepest depths of the sea. The first one will be named for him. (U.S. Navy)

Inside the Beltway: Enemies of ‘2016’

Somebody must be worried. Muckrakers and pirates have struck "2016: Obama's America," the blockbuster documentary that examines the future of America should President Obama be re-elected, now in more than 2,000 theaters nationwide. Published September 24, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Reeling along

National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated the fourth Saturday of each September since 1972 with the motto "Hunt. Shoot. Fish. Share the pride," appears to be evolving into something beyond woodland camouflage or spinner reels. Published September 23, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Reviling the pundit

Oh woe is the American pundit, that bombastic parasite of the political realm, all bloviation and alarm. They are an unpopular lot indeed: a mere 21 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the elite talking set, this according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll that says the findings "reflect the public's sour mood overall." Published September 20, 2012

Inside the Beltway: ‘Big sticks’

A cultural moment of sorts: Americans think al Qaeda is "more scared" of Mitt Romney than President Obama, according to a new poll released by Esquire magazine on Wednesday. Published September 19, 2012

Inside the Beltway: The pile-on

One good thing about a media pile-on is that the phenomenon typically has a fairly short shelf life, something that can benefit Mitt Romney as he endures the latest negative narrative surrounding his "47 percent" video, which has generated about 5,000 news accounts in the past 48 hours, according to a casual Google News count. Published September 18, 2012

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson will be in New York City the same day as President Obama but the chances of their paths crossing in Manhattan are probably nil. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Campaign theater

It is an unusual crossing of political paths, on a campaign trail that could only lead to New York City: President Obama and Libertarian Gary Johnson will both be in Manhattan on Tuesday. Published September 17, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Low and lower

Oh, woe is Congress: A paltry 13 percent of Americans approve of the job lawmakers are doing, "the lowest Gallup has measured this late in an election year," says Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones. This is not too comforting for Capitol Hill, where all House seats and roughly a third of Senate seats will be decided in November. Published September 16, 2012

Former Rep. Allen B. West, Florida Republican (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: What they value

Despite public vilification, those who champion traditional values remain stalwart on their issues. The Values Voter Summit, which begins Friday in the nation's capital, embraces subjects that rivet many Americans but often get short shrift. Published September 13, 2012

 Will Hayden of Red Jacket Firearms starred in The Discovery Channel series "Sons of Guns" prior to his arrest for allegedly sexually molesting his daughter. (Discovery Channel)

Inside the Beltway: Republican reality check

Ask a Democrat about jobs and the economy, and they'll wallow in optimism, secure in the knowledge that things are just fine with President Obama in charge. Ask a Republican? The answer will be bleak, indeed. Published September 11, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Eastwood’s motto-matic

It's already a cultural force. Clint Eastwood's "empty chair" moment at the Republican National Convention drew Democratic derision but inspired enthusiastic Republicans. It's all a matter of "Eastwooding." Published September 10, 2012

Inside the Beltway: A Quayle’s eye view

Feisty former vice president Dan Quayle is cheerfully engaged in the presidential election, but is not without a cautionary tale. Published September 9, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Mr. Fix-It

Some Republicans fret he could siphon crucial votes away from Mitt Romney, but Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary E. Johnson is still charging down the campaign trail as a third-party candidate and raising enough money — more than $400,000 this week — to produce a slick new campaign video that paints him as a down-to-earth hero. Published September 6, 2012