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Mona Charen is an American columnist, political analyst, and the author of two best-selling books, Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got it Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First (2003) and Do-Gooders: How Liberals Harm Those They Claim to Help — and the Rest of Us (2005). Her political stance is conservative. Charen usually writes about foreign policy, terrorism, politics, and culture. She regularly writes about her Jewish faith and is also known for her generally pro-Israel views. On ecological issues, Charen often writes skeptically about environmentalists, who, she argues, often "may not know what they're talking about".
Charen, born in 1957 in New York City, was raised in Livingston, New Jersey, where she went to school with fellow journalist Ruth Marcus starting in fourth grade. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in 1979 and a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School in 1984. She wrote a column for National Review magazine, where she was an editorial assistant. Later she joined the staff of First Lady Nancy Reagan as a speechwriter.
Charen served as Jack Kemp's speechwriter during his unsuccessful 1988 presidential bid. She launched her syndicated column in 1987, and it has become one of the fastest-growing columns in the industry. It is syndicated by Creators Syndicate and is featured in more than 200 papers, including the Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Washington Times.
Charen was a regular weekly commentator on CNN's The Capital Gang, which appeared on Saturdays. Following an on-air heated exchange with fellow panelist Al Hunt, after which the two of them did not appear on the same panel for several weeks, Charen switched to Capital Gang Sunday when that program was launched, appearing until the program's cancellation.
Her columns also appear online at National Review Online, TownHall.com and the e-zine Jewish World Review. Charen has spoken out in disagreement with former Capital Gang co-host Robert Novak regarding her tenure on the show and the reason for her departure. This caused a heated editorial exchange between her and Novak.