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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12:32am

Fri September 23, 2011
It's All Politics

Romney Ensures Perry Has Long, Hard Night At Orlando GOP Debate

Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 7:28 am

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, makes a point as Texas Gov. Rick Perry listens, during a debate in Orlando, Fla.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Accepting the premise that the race for the Republican presidential nomination has come down to a two-man contest between the frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the question is which of those two candidates helped himself the most in Thursday evening's debate in Orlando, Fla.?

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3:31pm

Thu September 22, 2011
It's All Politics

Lamar Alexander: Leaving Senate Leadership Gives Room To Deal

Originally published on Thu September 22, 2011 4:09 pm

Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

When Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, announced earlier this week that he was stepping down from the number three position in the Senate GOP leadership, his move got the rumor mill going.

Was it because the 71-year old senior senator from the Volunteer State sensed that he wasn't perceived as hardline enough in the Tea Party-era to advance to the the number two position?

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10:50am

Mon September 19, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama Signals GOP 2012 Election To Be Referendum On Rich's Taxes

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 11:45 am

President Obama gives a White House Rose Garden speech on his deficit reduction plan. Sept. 19, 2011.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama's re-election may all come down to whether voters mainly view the 2012 race seen as a referendum on his presidency or a choice between competing Democratic and Republican prescriptions for how to best address the nation's economic and fiscal challenges.

If it's a referendum, it could well be curtains for his hopes of a second term because the economy is clearly making too many voters unhappy and scared.

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4:04pm

Thu September 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Boehner Lobs Supply Side Shell In Fiscal Trench War With Obama

The latest rhetorical artillery shell to be launched in the trench warfare between Washington Keynesians and supply-siders landed Thursday in the form of House Speaker John Boehner's speech to the Economic Club of Washington.

Something of a rebuttal to President Obama announcement of his jobs plan last week, a John Maynard Keynes-inspired stimulus in everything but name, Boehner didn't have nearly as catchy a hook as the president's "pass this bill."

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11:23am

Wed September 14, 2011
It's All Politics

White House's Haste On Solar Firm Loan Creates Political Headaches

While there are still many open questions, some things are more certain in the sorry tale of Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar-cell manufacturer President Obama once praised as a model for the nation's renewable energy future.

One, U.S. taxpayers will take a loss on their $535 million federal loan guarantee that was part of the stimulus program.

Two, 1,100 workers have been laid off.

Three, the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week raided Solyndra's offices.

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6:51am

Wed September 14, 2011
It's All Politics

GOP's Bob Turner Wins Weiner's House Seat In N.Y. Upset

Republicans had reasons to cheer and Democrats to despair Wednesday with the upset special election victory in New York City of a Republican retired businessman who will complete the congressional term of Anthony Weiner, the Democrat who exited the U.S. House because of a sexting scandal.

Bob Turner, a 70-year old former cable television executive, beat David Weprin, a 55-year old, state assemblyman, in a district which had, until Tuesday, been reliably Democratic for nearly 100 years.

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10:34pm

Mon September 12, 2011
It's All Politics

Rick Perry Takes Tea Party Debate Licking, Keeps Ticking; Race Seems Stable

Stop Rick Perry.

That was the goal of the other Republican presidential candidates who came to the CNN/Tea Party Express debate Monday evening, to make GOP voters see the Texas governor and front-runner for their party's presidential nomination as less of a shiny new object and more as damaged goods.

By the end of the two-hour debate in Tampa, Fla., his rivals may not have knocked him out of the lead but they gave any Republican voters with doubts about Perry plenty more to fuel their concerns.

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2:05pm

Mon September 12, 2011
It's All Politics

Tea Party White House Debate Question: Can Romney, Bachmann Rebound?

A worker cleans the stage for Monday evening's Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express, Sept. 12, 2011.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Hard on the heels of last week's Republican presidential candidate in which Texas Gov. Rick Perry made his first appearance, comes another gathering, this one hosted by the Tea Party Express and carried by CNN Monday night at 8 pm ET.

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10:43am

Fri September 9, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama, Nation In Uncharted Economic Territory, Jobs Plan Or Not

Originally published on Fri September 9, 2011 1:23 pm

President Obama arrives in Richmond, Va to talk jobs, Sept. 9, 2011.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

One of the most unsettling truths facing President Obama and the nation is that there really was little precedent in modern history for the financial crisis that hit the globe in 2007 and continues.

As economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff note in "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," their examination of economic crises going back eight centuries:

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11:28pm

Wed September 7, 2011
It's All Politics

Perry, Romney Rivalry Still Shapes GOP Race After Reagan Library Debate

Candidates (L to R) Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman, Jr. take the stage before the start of the Ronald Reagan Centennial GOP Presidential Primary Candidates Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Wednesday in Simi Valley, Calif.
David McNew Getty Images

Coming into Wednesday's Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library, many of the questions revolved around Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the newest entrant in the field and instant frontrunner.

How well would he perform his first time on the national debate stage? Would he emerge from the debate with his momentum intact or deliver up a gaffe that would stop it cold?

Also, how would he handle the inevitable questions about controversial attacks on entitlement programs in his book Fed Up, including his derision of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme?

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3:38pm

Wed September 7, 2011
It's All Politics

GOP Reagan Library Debate: What To Expect

The Republican presidential debate from the Ronald Reagan library in Southern California will be voters' first chance to see the current frontrunner for the GOP nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, on the same stage with Mitt Romney, the previous pack leader.

Yes, there will be other candidates on the stage, all of whom have their various supporters who still believe, more or less.

But it takes a prodigious imagination to see a clear path to the nomination for the two current members of Congress now in the field, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann.

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4:27pm

Tue September 6, 2011
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney's (Steve) Jobs Plan

Was that a jobs plan Mitt Romney unveiled Tuesday or a Steve Jobs plan?

Wanting voters to see him as the political version of the black turtleneck-clad business visionary, Romney compared himself not only to Jobs but to someone using a smartphone (President Obama was still in the coin-operated payphone world, Romney said.)

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1:43pm

Wed August 24, 2011
It's All Politics

Gallup: Rick Perry Opens 12-Point Lead Over Mitt Romney

There really is a new sheriff in town or, more precisely, frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and he's Texas Gov. Rick Perry who has opened a 29 percent to 17 percent lead over Mitt Romney with Republican voters, according to a new Gallup poll.

Another interesting result: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was in third place with 13 percent, clearly placing him in the vaunted top tier. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was in fourth place at 10 percent.

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1:10pm

Wed August 24, 2011
It's All Politics

Romney To Skip DeMint's S. Carolina Labor Day Candidates' Forum

Mitt Romney signaled Wednesday that he doesn't see South Carolina as key to the presidential nomination. His campaign said he won't attend Sen. Jim DeMint's South Carolina Labor Day forum for presidential candidates.

A Romney spokesman cited scheduling conflicts. But by not attending the South Carolina event, Romney fuels speculation that his strategy may be to invest significantly less of himself in the Palmetto State than he did in 2008.

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10:27am

Wed August 24, 2011
It's All Politics

Most U.S. House Members Not Doing Town Hall Meetings

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:57 am

A Royal Caribbean recruiter (c) hands out an application at a Congressional Black Caucus jobs fair in Miami, Aug. 23, 2011.
Lynne Sladky AP

If your member of Congress is holding town-hall meetings during their summer recess to discuss the great issues of the day with you and their other constituents, he or she is in the minority.

The non-partisan group No Labels, created as a refuge for voters favoring pragmatic, less ideological solutions to the nation's problems, surveyed U.S. House members and found that 60 percent weren't holding town hall meetings this summer.

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9:26am

Fri August 19, 2011
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney Gets Unintentional Help From Rest Of GOP Field

All indications are that Mitt Romney has a real primary fight on his hands. Long suspected as being a Republican in Name Only by many of his party's hard-core conservatives, he's faced with two rivals for the GOP presidential nomination — Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry — with strong appeal to that key segment of the party.

But Romney has some critical advantages. Not the least of them is he's been a presidential candidate before, running against a politician — Sen. John McCain — who was an experienced national campaigner himself.

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1:45pm

Wed August 17, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama Prepares Ground For Campaign Against 'Do-Nothing Congress'

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:39 am

President Obama works rope line in Atkinson, Ill., Aug. 17, 2011.
Carolyn Kaster AP

It's safe to say President Obama probably isn't going to get much of anything that can be seen as an initiative of his administration through Congress in the next 15 months.

Obama and congressional Republicans have two entirely different prescriptions for how to create jobs, for instance. Obama emphasizes investments in infrastructure that would employ construction workers, for instance.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans argue that their agenda of tax cuts and fewer regulations would cure a too-high jobless rate.

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2:48pm

Tue August 16, 2011
It's All Politics

Ron Paul Wears Invisibility Cloak In News Media's Eyes

Busted. That's what we in the news media are in the matter of the presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Famous and not so famous critics have pointed out in the past day that journalists for the most part have ignored Paul even when he succeeds at a level other Republican presidential candidates haven't.

As far as many political reporters have been concerned, the congressman might as well be wearing one of those Harry Potter invisibility cloaks. He's there but we apparently can't see him.

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11:40am

Tue August 16, 2011
It's All Politics

Rick Perry Stirs Firestorm By Accusing Fed Chair Bernanke Of Near Treason

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 8:56 am

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Aug. 15, 2011.
Charles Dharapak AP

Texas Gov. Rick Perry only officially entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination Saturday and already by Tuesday he was raising plenty of eyebrows with his warning that he would consider it an act of treason if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke took further extraordinary steps to boost the sagging economy.

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4:40pm

Mon August 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Bus-Touring Obama Goes After GOP Presidential Hopefuls

President Obama's Midwest bus trip is part listening tour to show that he's concerned about the problems of actual Americans, part rolling bully pulpit that gives him a chance to make the case for compromise (and to blame congressional Republicans for not doing enough on that score.)

But it also was a chance to try and score a few points on the would-be Republican nominees.

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