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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10:23am

Tue August 14, 2012
It's All Politics

N.J. Gov. Christie To Keynote Romney's Convention

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 11:09 am

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Des Moines, Iowa, on Dec. 30, 2011.
Evan Vucci AP

The man some Republicans once hoped would be their party's 2012 presidential nominee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will instead deliver the keynote speech at the national convention that will make Mitt Romney the GOP's official standard-bearer.

Christie has won plaudits from Republicans for an everyman style, for taking on the New Jersey teachers unions, and for generally not suffering lightly those he considers fools — whether they're voters, members of the media or even some members of his own party.

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7:28pm

Mon August 13, 2012
It's All Politics

With Four Candidates Now Campaigning, 'Choice' Is The Theme

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 7:38 pm

Rep. Paul Ryan at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Monday.
Conrad Schmidt AP

With Rep. Paul Ryan officially in the mix as Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, the 2012 race for the White House was fully engaged Monday, as all four members of the two major-party presidential tickets campaigned in swing states.

Both President Obama and Ryan were in Iowa, while Romney, the all-but-official Republican nominee, campaigned in Florida. Meanwhile, Vice President Biden was in North Carolina, hitting a state the Republican ticket visited over the weekend.

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2:05pm

Sat August 11, 2012
It's All Politics

Historically Cautious Romney Takes 'Shot Down The Field' In Ryan

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 3:03 pm

Mitt Romney introduces Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate Saturday in Norfolk, Va.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Some of those who know Mitt Romney best or have studied his political and business careers say the Republican presidential candidate tends toward caution and deep analysis in making decisions.

That helps explain why his choice of Rep. Paul Ryan surprised more than a few: Among the candidates reportedly on Romney's short list, Ryan was widely perceived as one of the less-safe choices.

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5:29pm

Fri August 10, 2012
It's All Politics

In New Ads Focused On Character, Obama And Romney Get Personal

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 6:24 pm

Romney campaign ad

The economy and jobs may be what voters say they're most concerned about.

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5:19pm

Thu August 9, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Targets Romney On Tax Credit For Wind Energy Producers

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 6:12 pm

President Obama at a Newton, Iowa, wind-turbine blade maker in May.
Charlie Neibergall AP

How many votes can President Obama gain or Mitt Romney lose because of the Republican's opposition to renewing federal tax credits to wind energy producers? The answer, with apologies to Bob Dylan, is blowin' in the wind.

Obama hopes to influence the answer by relentlessly pounding the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee's opposition to the renewal.

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5:40pm

Wed August 8, 2012
It's All Politics

Poll Shows Voters Split On Presidential Candidates' Tax Returns

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 6:10 pm

About half of those surveyed in a new poll of voters in three swing states thought presidential candidates should release multiple years of their tax returns.

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11:50am

Wed August 8, 2012
It's All Politics

Missouri's Claire McCaskill Gets Clarity On Her Opponent, If Not Her Future

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 1:05 pm

The Missouri Republican primary win by Rep. Todd Akin gives Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Democrat, the choice she seemed to prefer.
Jeff Roberson AP

The only sure thing for Sen. Claire McCaskill, the embattled Missouri Democrat trying to remain in the Senate, is that she now knows who her challenger will be this fall: U.S. Rep. Todd Akin.

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6:50pm

Tue August 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Convention List Grows: Carter (By Video) At Democrats'; Santorum At GOP's

Former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center in Atlanta in February 2012.
John Bazemore AP

Former President Jimmy Carter may be the epitome of failed presidents in the eyes of many Republicans.

But the Democrats announced Tuesday that the one-term president will have a prime-time speaking role at their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September. Carter won't be there live, however; he'll speak by video.

A news release from the Democratic National Convention Committee quoted the former president:

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3:49pm

Tue August 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Attacks President On Welfare; Obama Team Alleges Hypocrisy

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 6:02 pm

President Bill Clinton signs welfare reform legislation into law on Aug. 22, 1996.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

(Revised and updated @ 5:55 pm ET)

In an attack likely to conjure up for many President Reagan's successful use of Cadillac-driving welfare queens as an issue in presidential politics, Mitt Romney's campaign accused President Obama of using his power to weaken work requirements for welfare recipients.

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2:00pm

Mon August 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Republican Convention Speakers Include Old And New Faces

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 2:56 pm

Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state during the Bush administration, is scheduled to speak from the main podium at the Republican National Convention later this month.
Seth Wenig AP

Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney may be skipping the Republican National Convention later this month, where Mitt Romney is set to officially become his party's 2012 presidential nominee.

But Condoleezza Rice, the former Bush secretary of state and national security adviser, and the first African-American woman to hold both roles, is scheduled to speak from the main podium, according to the Republican National Committee, which announced Monday the names of several speakers lined up for the event.

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12:15pm

Fri August 3, 2012
It's All Politics

Latest Jobs Data Maintain Status Quo Of Obama-Romney Race

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:10 pm

(Revised @ 1:48 pm ET)

With only three monthly jobs reports left before Nov. 6, President Obama needs every piece of good economic news he can get to add to his argument for re-election.

Friday's employment report certainly provided some. The Labor Department reported that the economy added an unexpectedly strong 163,000 jobs in July. Forecasters had predicted that the economy would add as many as 100,000 jobs, so the report took most everyone by surprise.

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5:10pm

Tue July 31, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama And Bush's Shared First-Term Obsession: Battleground States

What does President Obama have in common with his immediate White House predecessor?

Both men spent a disproportionate amount of their first terms making appearances in battleground states, Brendan Doherty, a political scientist at the U.S. Naval Academy, writes in a post on The Monkey Cage political-science blog.

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1:39pm

Tue July 31, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Chooses San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro As Convention Keynoter

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 4:29 pm

In what now looks like practice for the big show to come, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gives the keynote address at the Texas Democratic Convention in Houston on June 8.
Pat Sullivan AP

Get used to hearing the name Julian Castro. You're likely to be coming across it a lot in coming days and perhaps beyond.

President Obama chose Castro, the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio, to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

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7:23pm

Mon July 30, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's Foreign Trip Hits Right Note For Some, Potholes For Others

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 2:01 pm

Mitt Romney, right, meets Monday with former Polish President Lech Walesa in Gdansk.
Charles Dharapak AP

As Mitt Romney nears the end of his seven-day trip abroad, it's safe to call the results mixed at best.

The trip to Great Britain, Israel and Poland had several goals. It was meant to show that Romney has the gravitas and acumen to be this country's top foreign affairs policymaker; to remind U.S. voters of his success running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics; to appeal to certain voters in battleground states, especially Jewish and Catholic voters of Polish heritage, and to raise campaign cash.

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1:29pm

Mon July 30, 2012
It's All Politics

Poll: Jobs Should Be Next President's Priority; Tax Fairness? Not So Much

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:31 pm

Nearly every major poll indicates that the top issues for voters are jobs and the economy. Making the wealthy pay more in income taxes? Not so much, at least according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll.

An excerpt from Gallup:

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4:46pm

Fri July 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Pre-Empts Romney's Israel Visit With Security Aid Bill Signing

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 9:47 am

President Obama is flanked Friday by congressional sponsors and officials with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., for legislation increasing U.S. security aid to Israel.
Susan Walsh AP

It may have just been a coincidence that on the eve of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's visit to Israel, President Obama signed legislation that increases U.S. military and security aid to the Jewish state.

But the timing was nonetheless fortuitous for the president, and showed once again the benefits of incumbency in an election year.

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5:38pm

Thu July 26, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney In London: Not A Smashing Success So Far

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 6:27 pm

Mitt Romney leaves London's 10 Downing Street after meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Charles Dharapak AP

The first stop — Britain — in Mitt Romney's foreign tour certainly is starting out rockier than nearly anyone expected.

First there was the kerfuffle over remarks, attributed by a British newspaper to an anonymous campaign adviser, that Romney understood the shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" between the U.S. and Britain in a way President Obama didn't. Those comments were viewed as racist by some and were disowned by the Romney campaign.

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1:53pm

Thu July 26, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Backer Explains Why Obama's Wrong, Despite Her Firm's Gov't Contracts

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 3:48 pm

Rebecca Smith, owner of A.D. Morgan, speaks Thursday at a Tampa, Fla., event to denounce President Obama's statements about small businesses. The event was organized by the Romney campaign. At left is Lou Ramos of Value Enterprise Solutions.
Daniel Wallace Tampa Bay Times/ZUMAPRESS.com

Rebecca Smith owns a Tampa, Fla., construction-management firm that does a lot of work overseeing the building of schools and jails, and other projects for state and local governments.

But even though much of her firm's $80 million in annual revenue comes from contracts with government agencies, she says she was "disgusted" by President Obama's thesis that government had a significant role in her business achievements.

Obama's actual words, from a July 13 speech in Virginia, were:

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6:47pm

Tue July 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Ad Accuses Romney Of Twisting 'You Didn't Build That' Line

Mitt Romney and other Republicans have pounded President Obama for weeks for an awkwardly phrased remark that, taken out of context, made it sound as though the president believed the federal government should get all the credit for every business ever created.

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6:01pm

Tue July 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Sen. Feinstein Backtracks On White House National Security Leaks

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 6:32 pm

Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared to have second thoughts Tuesday about joining the chorus of Republicans accusing the Obama White House of leaking classified national security information.

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12:25pm

Tue July 24, 2012
It's All Politics

At VFW, Romney Seeks To Dull Obama's National Security Sheen

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 3:23 pm

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars look on Monday as President Obama speaks during the group's national convention in Reno, Nev. Republican Mitt Romney was scheduled to speak to the group on Tuesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

(Revised @ 3:19 pm ET)

In a result few predicted before he became commander in chief, President Obama exhibits surprising strength with voters on national security issues.

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5:42pm

Mon July 23, 2012
It's All Politics

Little Election-Year Incentive For Obama Or Romney To Join Gun Debate

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 7:33 am

President Obama at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, when he met with victims and family members of last week's shooting.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

As occurs after seemingly every mass killing that involves firearms, the shootings in a suburban Denver movie theater last week have renewed calls for tougher gun control laws.

Just as predictably, those calls have led to pushback by gun-rights advocates who accuse those calling for stricter legislation of trying to exploit the tragedy to restrict Americans' Second Amendment rights.

Worth noting is that neither of the two major-party candidates running for the White House has engaged in any current gun control debate.

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12:30pm

Fri July 20, 2012
It's All Politics

Movie-Theater Shootings Put Presidential Politics On Hold

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 6:56 pm

President Obama turned a planned campaign speech in Fort Myers, Fla., into a brief statement about the shooting rampage. He asked the audience to join him in a moment of silence for the victims.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

(Updated @ 1:11 pm ET)

As deeply as the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., shocked the national conscience, they also quickly affected the U.S. political scene, with both major party presidential campaigns ripping up their scripts for Friday, and the mayor of the nation's largest city using the issue to put the candidates on the spot on gun control.

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6:45pm

Thu July 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Web Quiz Tells You Which Presidential Candidate Best Fits Your Worldview

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:28 pm

ISideWith.com screenshot

Take one guy with an abiding interest in politics, another guy with website-building skills and throw in the shared desire to get people more engaged in the political process, and you have the ingredients for an interactive site called ISideWith.com.

The site's purpose is to show you which presidential candidate's views most align with yours by running you through a short quiz that asks your stance on various policy issues, then determines which candidate most agrees with you.

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5:12pm

Wed July 18, 2012
It's All Politics

John McCain Tells Michele Bachmann To Lay Off Hillary Clinton Aide

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 11:09 am

Sen. John McCain defended Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, against accusations by several House GOP members that she has ties to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
C-SPAN screenshot

(Updated at 5:14 pm ET)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor Wednesday in an apparent attempt to shame Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and other House GOP lawmakers who recently questioned whether a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a fifth columnist for the Muslim Brotherhood.

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11:23am

Wed July 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's 'Crony Capitalism' Charge May Ring True For Leaders Of Both Parties

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 2:25 pm

Crony capitalism is a term very much in vogue because of Mitt Romney's accusations that President Obama has engaged in the practice, allegedly rewarding the business interests of political supporters with federal taxpayer dollars.

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5:29pm

Mon July 16, 2012
It's All Politics

Harry Reid Worries About '17 Angry Old White Men' Buying The Nation

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 6:23 pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, shown July 10 on Capitol Hill, adds another classic bon mot to his record with his worries about "17 angry old white men" buying the country.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Add another line to the list of memorable quotes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

On Monday, the Nevada Democrat was on the Senate floor defending Democratic-backed campaign-finance legislation known as the DISCLOSE Act when he uttered the following thought (the relevant passage starts at the 8:00 mark in this C-SPAN video):

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3:51pm

Fri July 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Jobs Report And Politics: The Monthly Spin Cycle

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 4:32 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the monthly jobs report Friday in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Charles Dharapak AP

Like any Oval Office incumbent seeking re-election, President Obama would prefer to have the economy exceeding expectations in terms of job creation at this point in the campaign.

But exactly four months from Election Day, the economy isn't cooperating. In fact, it's doing just the opposite, underperforming job-growth forecasts in recent months.

Given the trend, it seems unlikely the four monthly jobs reports to be issued between Friday and Election Day will change the pattern in which our politics now seem trapped:

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7:00pm

Tue July 3, 2012
It's All Politics

Michigan's GOP Governor Keeps To Middle Of The Road, Vetoes Voter ID Law

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 7:15 pm

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed voter ID legislation on Tuesday.
John Flesher AP

At first blush, it seems like a man-bites-dog story: a Republican governor vetoing voter ID legislation decried as voter suppression by Democratic critics of the bills.

But when you consider that the chief executive who wielded the veto pen Tuesday was Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, the news becomes somewhat less surprising.

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3:35pm

Mon July 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Adviser Seems To Undercut GOP Health Care Tax Argument

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 11:35 am

There apparently isn't a unified Republican message on whether President Obama has introduced a big new tax through the Affordable Care Act.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide to Mitt Romney, said Monday that the Republican presidential candidate's position is that the penalty under the new law — the one for people who can afford to buy health insurance, but don't — is not a tax.

The Supreme Court last week upheld the health care law's individual mandate on the grounds that it is a permissible tax, in a 5-4 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts.

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