Frank James

Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

James came to NPR from the Chicago Tribune, where he worked for 20 years. In 2006, James created "The Swamp," the paper's successful politics and policy news blog whose readership climbed to a peak of 3 million page-views a month.

Before that, James covered homeland security, technology and privacy and economics in the Tribune's Washington Bureau. He also reported for the Tribune from South Africa and covered politics and higher education.

James also reported for The Wall Street Journal for nearly 10 years.

James received a bachelor of arts degree in English from Dickinson College and now serves on its board of trustees.

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7:31am

Thu March 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Thursday Political Grab Bag: Obama And UK's Cameron Showcase Unity

The Obamas and Camerons at the White House before a state dinner for the British prime minister.
Susan Walsh AP

In the wake of the alleged killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he wants all NATO troops moved onto existing large bases and a faster handover of security responsibilities to his nation's forces. This dovetails with growing opinion in the U.S. that the withdrawal of American troops happen sooner than scheduled.

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2:28pm

Wed March 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Gingrich's SuperPAC Ally Tells How His Candidate Can Still Be Nominee

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 4:02 pm

Newt Gingrich could still be his party's salvation, according to a former aide who advises a pro-Gingrich superPAC.
David Goldman AP

Time for a few unconventional thoughts:

  • Newt Gingrich is still in good enough shape to win the Republican presidential nomination at a brokered convention in Tampa.
  • By staying in the race, Gingrich actually helps, not hurts, his rival Rick Santorum.
  • Gingrich's situation resembles Abraham Lincoln's in 1860.
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11:49am

Wed March 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Pew Poll: Good News, Bad News For Romney

The cacophony of hoots being directed at Mitt Romney Wednesday for his poor performances in Alabama and Mississippi primaries is somewhat curious, especially since it was the conventional wisdom as recently as last week that the Deep South was likely to be very tough going for him.

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4:00am

Tue March 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Five Things To Watch For In Tuesday's Alabama, Mississippi GOP Primaries

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 7:56 am

Can Mitt Romney finally win a Southern state Tuesday? Here, Romney greets Alabamans at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mobile on Monday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Alabama and Mississippi will play unaccustomed high-profile roles Tuesday as each candidate for the Republican presidential nomination looks to voters in those states to give his candidacy a boost — toward inevitability, if you're Mitt Romney, or just one more week if you're Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich.

So voters and analysts alike will be watching the two states closely Tuesday to see whether Republicans there chose to go with the most electable candidate, who many say is Romney, or the most conservative, a label Santorum and Gingrich say fits them.

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12:43pm

Mon March 12, 2012
It's All Politics

Presidential Speeches: Sound And (Partisan) Fury, Signifying Not Much

When presidents give major set-piece speeches, they're mainly engaged in exercises in futility since a commander-in-chief's high-flown rhetoric rarely shifts voter attitudes for long.

Indeed, the exercise could even be more negative than neutral since speeches by presidents advocating specific policy not only leave citizen unswayed but can fire up political opponents in the other party, according to Ezra Klein in an essay in the New Yorker.

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7:27am

Mon March 12, 2012
It's All Politics

Monday Political Grab Bag: Rising Gas Prices Hurt Obama's Ratings Etc

Some voters believe President Obama has the power to lower gas prices and are blaming him for higher costs.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Rising gas prices have many voters looking for someone to blame and President Obama appears to be as good a target as anyone, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll suggests, with the president's approval rating falling from 50 percent last month to 46 percent recently.

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7:27am

Fri March 9, 2012
It's All Politics

Friday Political Grab Bag: Economy Adds More Jobs Than Experts Forecast Etc

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 7:50 am

In another sign that the economic recovery is deepening, the U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February, according to the Labor Department, more than what many economists had expected. Meanwhile, the jobless rate of 8.3 percent remained unchanged from the prior month even as more workers entered the workforce. The news kept alive a trend helpful to President Obama re-election chances.

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11:07am

Thu March 8, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Campaign Releases 1st-Term Trailer As It Hopes For Sequel

President Obama's campaign on Thursday issued the trailer for a documentary about his time in the White House. Call it "President Obama: The Movie."

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11:15am

Wed March 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Aides: We Can Count To 1,144; Santorum, Gingrich Can't

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 8:34 am

Mitt Romney, with wife Ann, talks to reporters after voting in the Massachusetts primary in Belmont, Mass, Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
Gerald Herbert AP

Just as they promised they would on Super Tuesday evening, Mitt Romney's campaign aides spent Wednesday explaining why their boss' rivals can't possibly win the Republican presidential nomination and how they're only helping President Obama by not accepting the inevitable and leaving the race.

There was nothing subtle about the title on Romney political director Rich Beeson's memo: "Our Opponents' Last Stand: A Postmortem."

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10:50pm

Tue March 6, 2012
It's All Politics

In Ohio, Kaptur Beats Kucinich; Schmidt Upset By Wenstrup

Rep. Dennis Kucinich thanks his wife Elizabeth during his concession speech, Cleveland, OH, Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
Amy Sancetta AP

The race between two veteran Ohio Democrats, Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Rep. Dennis Kucinich who were redistricted into the same congressional district ended badly for Kucinich who lost to his fellow House Democrat.

Meanwhile, the House Republican Conference will lose Rep. Jean Schmidt, who was defeated by Brad Wenstrup, a podiatrist and Iraq War veteran, in an upset.

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5:02am

Tue March 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Super Tuesday: 4 Things To Watch

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 7:55 am

Ten states hold GOP nominating contests on March 6. Here a voter heads to a polling station Tuesday morning in Cambridge, Mass., where former Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to win his home state.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Super Tuesday 2012 is finally here, with Republican presidential preference contests — a mix of primaries and caucuses — occurring in 10 states from sea to shining sea.

While the 2012 race for the GOP nomination likely won't be over by Wednesday morning, it could seem far closer to being so, especially if Mitt Romney sweeps contests everywhere but, say, Georgia, where the former congressman from the Peach State, Newt Gingrich, is expected to have a good night.

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1:04pm

Mon March 5, 2012
It's All Politics

New Yorker Cover Puts New Twist On Old Romney Shaggy Dog Story

New Yorker cover

Robert Staake, the cover artist for the New Yorker's March 12 cover took a story that's an oldie but goodie — Mitt Romney strapping the kennel containing Seamus the family dog atop the family car during a vacation road trip — and gave it a new spin with Rick Santorum filling in for the dog.

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11:56am

Mon March 5, 2012
It's All Politics

Pollster: Romney Surges Despite OH GOP Voters Sharing Santorum's Views

Mitt Romney greets supporters in Youngstown, Ohio, Monday, March 5, 2012.
Gerald Herbert AP

Suffolk University has a new poll out of Ohio that reminds us that in politics as in life, timing is everything; Rick Santorum would have been much better off if Super Tuesday had been two weeks ago.

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7:26am

Mon March 5, 2012
It's All Politics

Monday Political Grab Bag: Obama Warns That War Talk Helps Iran

President Obama told AIPAC, the influential Israel lobbying group, Sunday that his policy on a potential Iranian nuclear weapon was one of prevention, not containment. And in a warning seemingly aimed at Israeli and U.S.

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2:18pm

Fri March 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Phones His Support To Fluke, Law Student Limbaugh Derided

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 3:01 pm

Law student Sandra Fluke talking to House Democrats, February 23, 2012.
Alex Wong Getty Images

In a move certain to bring even more attention to one of the latest media tempests, President Obama on Friday got on the phone to encourage the Georgetown University law student disparaged by conservative radio superstar Rush Limbaugh with misogynistic epithets.

Sandra Fluke, who is also an activist, was about to appear on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports when she took a phone call from the White House. It was the president. As an emotional Fluke explained once she was in front of the cameras with Mitchell:

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10:43am

Fri March 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Ohio Poll: Santorum, Romney Tied Days Ahead Of Super Tuesday

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 11:14 am

Mitt Romney at a town-hall style meeting in Bexley, Ohio, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012.
Gerald Herbert AP

If Rick Santorum has a lead on Mitt Romney in Ohio, it looks like it's not much of one. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Santorum leading Romney by four percentage points, 35 percent to 31 percent.

With the margin of error at +/-4.3 points, the two top rivals for the Republican presidential nomination are essentially tied just days before Super Tuesday when voters in Ohio and nine other states take part in the presidential primary process.

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6:48am

Fri March 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Friday Political Grab Bag: Obama To Israel, Iran - 'I Don't Bluff'

President Obama tells both Israel and Iran through an interview with The Atlantic that "as president of the United States, I don't bluff," when he leaves open the possibility of a U.S. military strike against Iran's nuclear program.

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7:40am

Thu March 1, 2012
It's All Politics

Thursday Political Grab Bag: Obama To Call For End To Oil Company Tax Breaks

With Republicans blaming his energy policies for higher gas prices and rising fears that U.S. gas prices could hit an average of $5 a gallon, President Obama on Thursday will renew a call Democrats make whenever oil prices rise that Congress repeal tax breaks for oil companies.

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2:38pm

Wed February 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Bob Kerrey (The Man, Not The Bridge) To Run For Senate

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 3:59 pm

Bob Kerrey in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012.
Nati Harnik AP

(Updated at 5:57 pm ET)

A day after Senate Democrats' chances of keeping control of the chamber seemed to improve with the news that Maine Republican Olympia Snowe was retiring from a seat Democrats seem likely to gain, they got apparently more good news — Bob Kerrey finally decided to run for the soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat from Nebraska.

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12:10pm

Wed February 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Continues Hitting Santorum For Robocalls To Mich. Democrats

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 2:18 pm

Mitt Romney was captured on the iPad screen held by a man at a campaign event in Toledo, Ohio, on Wednesday.
Gerald Herbert AP

Mitt Romney's campaign isn't about to stop citing Rick Santorum's robocalls to Michigan Democrats, as the former Massachusetts governor continues to try to stoke a backlash against his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

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