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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4:03pm

Tue February 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Senate's Snowe To Retire, Boosting Democrats' Bid To Keep Control

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 4:43 pm

Sen. Olympia Snowe in Augusta, Maine, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.
Joel Page AP

Virtually everyone expected Tuesday's big political news to come blowing out of Michigan, the big industrial state, where Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were vying to win that state's GOP presidential primary.

But little Maine managed a national political bombshell of its own with the surprising news that Sen. Olympia Snowe, the 65-year old, three-term moderate Republican senator, won't seek re-election.

From a statement she issued, it appears Washington's partisan bickering just got kind of old for the senator.

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12:09pm

Tue February 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Gives Eventual GOP Nominee Taste Of Michigan Campaign Ahead

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 7:03 pm

President Obama appears to check smartphone as he heads for the Oval Office after speaking to the UAW, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama never mentioned Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or the other Republican presidential candidates by name in his speech before the United Auto Workers Tuesday.

He didn't need to; everyone knew whom he had in mind when he accused some critics of the federally financed auto industry bailout of peddling distortions.

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1:06pm

Mon February 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's Wealth 'Gaffes' Seem Less About Money, More About Him

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 2:34 pm

Mitt Romney walks with driver Brian Vickers at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012.
Rainier Ehrhardt AP

By this point, as virtually everyone knows, Mitt Romney has fed a stereotype of himself as an out-of-touch plutocrat through a series of comments the news media have labeled "gaffes."

The word gaffe, of course, as Michael Kinsley once observed, has at least two meanings: the generally used one of something that's a social faux pas, and the Washington one, which the journalist said was "someone telling the truth by accident."

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7:11am

Mon February 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Monday's Political Grab Bag: Romney, Santorum Tied In Michigan?

On the eve of Tuesday primaries in Michigan and Arizona, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum appeared to be tied in the Great Lakes state though the former Massachusetts governor likely had the momentum and looked to be significantly ahead in the southwestern border state.

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7:41am

Fri February 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Friday's Political Grab Bag: Romney Leans On Bush's Economic Team Etc.

In a move that likely opens him up to some obvious Democratic attacks, Mitt Romney is turning to members of President George W. Bush's economic brain trust to craft what he hopes will be a winning economic message.

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12:41pm

Fri February 17, 2012
It's All Politics

With Payroll Tax Cut Done, Is It Do-Nothing Congress Time? It Depends

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 1:59 pm

Expect the rest of 2012 to bring more political symbolism like Thursday's House hearing on birth control and religious freedom than actual passage of major legislation that solves Americans' problems.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Now that Congress has passed the extension of the payroll tax cut and jobless insurance benefits for the long-term uninsured, as well as a fix that prevents cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors, there's the sense that not much else will get done on Capitol Hill, it being a general-election year and all.

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7:26am

Fri February 17, 2012
It's All Politics

Some Friday Political Stories Worth Noting

Those aren't bags of money but they might as well be. President Obama and the DNC raised $29.1 million in January.
Susan Walsh AP

A few of the political stories worth noting this Friday:

Congressional negotiators reached agreement on extensions of the payroll tax cut as well as federal jobless benefits and a "fix" that would prevent Medicare reimbursements to doctors from being cut. But while the House's Republican leaders and the Senate's Democratic leaders were on board, Senate Republicansn weren't. Votes are expected in both chambers Friday.

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2:19pm

Thu February 16, 2012
It's All Politics

Santorum Ally Friess Praises Old-School 'Contraceptive': Aspirin Between Knees

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 8:01 am

Foster Friess got somewhat off message during an MSNBC interview Thursday.
Eric Gay AP

Foster Friess, Rick Santorum's billionaire supporter, drew some attention from his candidate Thursday with a comment about contraception that was, to say the least, unusual and surefire fodder for late-night TV comedians .

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9:23am

Thu February 16, 2012
It's All Politics

Santorum Tax Returns Draw Critics Of His Low Charitable Giving

Rick Santorum speaks to the media Feb. 13, 2012 at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Rick Santorum released four years' worth of tax returns Wednesday evening which showed that he is wealthy by any measure.

But his returns may also allow his critics, both those aligned with Mitt Romney, his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination and those who aren't, to attack the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania for not giving as much to charity as many others at his income level.

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7:30am

Thu February 16, 2012
It's All Politics

Record GM Profits Could Make Romney's Anti-Bailout Message A Harder Sell

Mitt Romney laughs with supporters at a rally in Kentwood, MI, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.
Gerald Herbert AP

Mitt Romney has worn his opposition to the Obama administration's bailout of GM and Chrysler into Michigan as a badge of honor in the lead up to the state's Republican presidential primary at the end of the month.

But that message may be a harder sell for him against the backdrop of GM reporting Thursday that it posted record profits in 2011 of $7.6 billion, 62 percent higher than the previous year's.

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3:16pm

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama's Manufacturing Push Meets Skepticism From Experts

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:30 pm

President Obama extolled U.S. manufacturing at Master Lock in Milwaukee as some experts said a return to the nation's industrial past may not be the best path forward.
Susan Walsh AP

Manufacturing is as American as motherhood, baseball and apple pie. Who could be against Americans making more of what they consume and exporting more to the rest of the world?

Which is why President Obama was hardly taking a political risk Wednesday by going to a Master Lock factory in Milwaukee and extolling the company for repatriating manufacturing jobs from China.

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10:23am

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Election-Year Realities Bring Compromise On Payroll Taxes And More

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:11 pm

Speaker John Boehner didn't cite it being an election year or Congress' low approval ratings for the GOP's new flexibility but it's hard to ignore such realities.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Part of President Obama's 2012 re-election strategy was to run against a do-nothing Congress. But congressional Republicans now appear determined to make that approach harder for him by coming to terms on some Democratic priorities.

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7:45am

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Poll: Obama Hits 50% Approval, Leads All GOP Rivals, For Now

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:47 am

The new CBS News/NY Times poll definitely contains the kind of information that could put a little spring in any president's step.

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6:56am

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Mich. TV Ad Battle Pt 2: Santorum Uses Humor To Parry Romney

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:28 pm

Rick Santorum's presidential campaign has just put up one of the cleverest ads of 2012. (Of course, we're only less than two months into the year.)

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3:43pm

Tue February 14, 2012
It's All Politics

The TV Battle in Mich.: Santorum's True Conservative Vs. Romney's Native Son

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:28 pm

Both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have new ads up in Michigan as they try to shape their images for voters with the state's primary approaching in two weeks.

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12:16pm

Tue February 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's Hard Line On U.S. Auto Industry Good For Primary But Trouble Beyond

Mitt Romney is sticking by his position, first taken in 2008, that the Obama administration should have let GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Mitt Romney, self-proclaimed "son of Detroit," appears to be in serious trouble in Michigan, falling behind to rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in new polls.

Despite that, he's standing firm on his position that the Obama administration should have allowed two iconic car companies — GM and Chrysler — to enter the regular corporate bankruptcy process three years ago.

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3:40pm

Mon February 13, 2012
It's All Politics

With Focus On Obama Budget, Fiscal Watchdog Warns Of Broken Process

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:36 am

As fiscal experts around Washington and beyond pored over President Obama's 2013 budget proposal, one of the nation's most persistent nags about the need for the U.S. to clean up its budgetary act reminded his fellow citizens of just how much a mess the whole process is.

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1:17pm

Mon February 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Pew Poll: Good News For Santorum, Better News For Obama

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:36 am

A new Pew Research Center poll reinforces the frustrating political reality for Mitt Romney that he's unable to convince some key conservative constituencies within the Republican Party that he's one of them.

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8:33am

Mon February 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's Small, Weekend Morale Boosts Don't End His Santorum Troubles

Mitt Romney, the choice of many in his party who see him as their party's most electable White House possibility, may have scored some small morale-boosting victories by winning the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll and the Maine caucuses over the weekend.

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9:29am

Thu February 9, 2012
It's All Politics

Another Senate Campaign Could See SuperPAC Truce (Or Not)

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 9:48 am

It might seem like the equivalent of trying to bail the ocean with a bucket but we now have another major race, the U.S. Senate race in Montana, in which the idea of a self-imposed truce by the candidates on superPAC money in the race has come up.

Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, sent a letter to Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican who seeks to unseat him, requesting a truce on outside money funding negative ads for their campaigns, meaning superPACs.

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