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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

Inside the Beltway: Butt out, Santa

So much for Santa Claus, who could turn up slim and gluten-free at any moment. A new version of the classic "A Visit from St. Nicholas" edits out all references to Mr. Claus' pipe smoking in the beloved old poem, rewritten by Pamela McColl, a writer and smoking-cessation advocate in Vancouver, Canada. Published October 14, 2012

Inside the Beltway: The presidential purse

The most telling numbers are often the most simple numbers. President Obama has conducted 222 re-election fundraisers in the past 18 months, more than any other incumbent president. Consider that President George W. Bush held 86 during his first term in office, and in comparable times, Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush staged 70 and 24, respectively. Ronald Reagan, incidentally, held no fundraisers during his 1984 re-election campaign. Published October 11, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Biden, Ryan to mix it up at the debate

America is intrigued with the latest clash of political titans, suggesting that the vice presidential debate could draw as much interest as the presidential version. And why not? This is debate as reality TV, pitting a pair of unlikely combatants against each other, with excruciating stakes and a big audience. Published October 10, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pauses during a campaign rally on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Newport News, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Inside the Beltway: Even more Romney signs defiled

Rumors that Mitt Romney's campaign materials suffer disgraceful defacement around the nation appear to be true. And here's one more example. Solitary pro-Romney lawn signs in a heavily Democratic neighborhood have been draped with, uh, used doggie-doo disposal bags in recent days. This news comes from a comfortable enclave of supposed civility in the Maryland suburbs near the nation's capital. Published October 9, 2012

Inside the Beltway: Media revenge

Brace for impact: The peevish press seeks to persuade voters to forget Mitt Romney's stark and sparkling victory over President Obama during their initial debate. The glow of Mr. Romney's polished performance Wednesday is destined for a very short shelf life as journalists on gaffe patrol woo the public with fancy "fact" checking and anything remotely linked to the phrase "47 percent." Published October 4, 2012

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