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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5:50pm

Fri June 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Ironies Abound In New Romney Ad

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 11:57 am

In a new anti-Obama ad, Mitt Romney's campaign has struck a mother lode of delicious ironies.

The all-but-official presidential candidate's ad pushes back against the criticisms of his job-creation record as head of Bain Capital, the private equity firm.

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12:18pm

Thu June 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama's Supreme Court Health Care Victory Hard To Overstate

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 3:50 pm

President Obama signs the health care bill into law at the White House on March 23, 2010.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Even in Washington, a city where hyperbole rules, it still seems difficult to overstate how big a win the Supreme Court's decision on President Obama's signature piece of domestic legislation is for the man in the Oval Office.

The Affordable Care Act is so identified with him, after all, that its opponents quickly dubbed it "Obamacare," a term supporters at first eschewed but later came to embrace.

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7:02pm

Wed June 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Gets No Relief On Outsourcing Story

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 3:51 pm

Mitt Romney appears with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (left) on Wednesday. Romney failed to convince Washington Post journalists they were wrong to link him to the outsourcing of U.S. jobs while he led Bain Capital.
Charles Dharapak AP

Ever since the Washington Post published a widely read piece last week whose central premise was that when Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital the firm invested in companies that shipped U.S. jobs abroad, President Obama, Vice President Biden and other Democrats have repeatedly cited it.

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4:24pm

Tue June 26, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Tries To Turn The Outsourcing Table On Obama

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 6:43 pm

Mitt Romney greeted supporters in Salem, Va., Tuesday, as his campaign tried to frame President Obama as the real outsourcer of U.S. jobs.
Charles Dharapak AP

Mitt Romney's campaign has an obvious challenge: how best to combat charges from the Obama campaign that when the all-but-official Republican nominee was in the private sector, he was heavily involved in offshoring the jobs of U.S. workers?

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4:25pm

Mon June 25, 2012
It's All Politics

Supreme Court's Arizona Ruling Could Aid Obama While Vexing Romney

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:47 am

The political impact of Monday's Supreme Court ruling that three of four provisions of Arizona's immigration enforcement law are unconstitutional — and that a fourth could eventually be found to be — certainly appeared, at first blush, to be a significant political win for President Obama.

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5:12pm

Fri June 22, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Basks In Latino Politicians' Love After His DREAM Moves

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 3:55 pm

President Obama returned a young fan's salute at the conference of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials in Orlando, Fla.
Brendan Smialowski AFP

Coming a week after President Obama announced that he would defer deportation proceedings for many young illegal immigrants, it was safe to predict that he'd get an appreciative response from an audience of Latino leaders. They didn't disappoint.

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4:02pm

Thu June 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Rubio On Compromise, Immigration And His 'Union Activist' Past

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 5:19 pm

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., delivers a speech during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in February in Washington.
Win McNamee Getty Images

To hear Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tell it, it's happenstance that his newly published memoir, An American Son, became available just as the speculation about Republican vice presidential possibilities is heating up.

Rubio, a rising Cuban-American star in his party, told NPR's Robert Siegel, co-host of All Things Considered, in a Thursday interview:

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7:27pm

Tue June 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Senate's Top Republican Seeks A Cue From Romney On Immigration

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 7:42 am

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

President Obama has certainly put Republicans in a tricky spot with his action to essentially activate parts of the DREAM Act that would defer deportations for certain young illegal immigrants.

Come out against the president's stance, popular with many Latino voters but not exclusively so, and Republicans run the risk of further alienating many of those voters.

But come out in support of the president's act, and many conservatives in the Republican base could get angry.

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4:11pm

Fri June 15, 2012
It's All Politics

With DREAM Order, Obama Did What Presidents Do: Act Without Congress

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 1:12 pm

President Obama on Friday announced he was using his executive power to give some young illegal immigrants the right to stay longer in the United States.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama's announcement Friday that he is using his executive authority to defer deportation proceedings for young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally but meet certain requirements was just the latest example of the president's use of his power to act without Congress on policy issues.

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6:14pm

Thu June 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama, Romney Duel On Economy In Ohio Where It Could All Be Decided

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 7:21 pm

Ohio could very well be the state where what's expected to be a very close presidential race gets decided.

And every indication is that the economy will be the issue that drives the majority of voters to either President Obama or Mitt Romney.

Which explains why on Thursday both the Democratic president and the all-but-official Republican nominee were, again, in Ohio to argue why he and not his opponent should be president starting January 20, 2013.

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2:37pm

Thu June 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Scholars Ding News Media For Uncritically Repeating 'Job Killer' Charge

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 3:11 pm

Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders at a May 31, 2012 news conference at which they described a proposal by Rep. Nancy Pelosi to raise taxes as a "job killer."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

"Job killer."

You don't have to listen very long to what passes in American politics for debate about the economy before you hear that phrase. Usually it's wielded by Republicans against their Democratic opponents although Democrats occasionally resort to it, too.

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2:09pm

Wed June 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Team: Household Net Actually Rose, Not Fell, During His Presidency

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 3:12 pm

Obama administration officials pointed to the 56 percent rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since January 2009, and rising 401(k) values as evidence that the personal balance sheets of many Americans have improved during his presidency.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The nearly 40 percent drop in median household net worth between 2007 and 2010 the Federal Reserve reported earlier this week was unarguably an arresting statistic. It confirmed for millions what they already knew, that the Great Recession and its aftermath have been a financial setback with few parallels.

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3:33pm

Tue June 12, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Puts Distance Between Him And Himself On Public-Worker Hiring

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 6:22 pm

Fox News screen grab

Mitt Romney seemed pretty adamant last week when he said taxpayers didn't want any more teachers, firefighters and police officers, suggesting that they wanted to see government at all levels shrink.

But given the chance during a Fox News appearance Tuesday to repeat the bold statement of just a few days ago, the all-but-official presidential nominee essentially took a pass.

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1:08pm

Tue June 12, 2012
It's All Politics

Liberal Group Excitedly Eyes Millions Of Potential Latino Voters

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 1:40 pm

It's a given that Latino voters are viewed by both political parties as critical to the the 2012 general election and that polling shows President Obama, and Democrats generally, enjoying a significant advantage with that such voters.

That reality prompted Mitt Romney to tell donors at a closed-door Palm Beach, Fla. fundraiser in April, in remarks overheard by reporters:

"We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party." He suggested that if the GOP failed to draw significant numbers of Latino voters away from the Democratic Party "that spells doom for us."

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1:19pm

Fri June 8, 2012
It's All Politics

GOP Slams Obama For Saying Private Sector's 'Doing Fine'

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 4:39 pm

President Obama handed Republicans an unexpected gift which they in turn bashed him with.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP/Getty Images

-- Updated at 4:20 pm ET. See end of post --

President Obama opened himself up to withering Republican attacks Friday via an off-hand statement he made in a brief White House news conference.

Obama seemed to suggest that matters were going swimmingly for the private-sector part of the economy and that it was the reduction of government jobs that was the real problem.

Asked to respond to Republican charges that he was blaming Europe's economic policies for the alleged failure of his own domestic economic policies, Obama said:

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1:35pm

Thu June 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Beats Obama In May Fundraising, Recalling Kerry Vs Bush In 2004

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 4:38 pm

In May, Mitt Romney's campaign effort raised more than President Obama's for the first time.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

-- Updated at 4:33 pm ET --

No question Republicans supporting Mitt Romney's White House bid should and will be pleased that his campaign raised more money in May than President Obama's effort.

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11:55am

Thu June 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Public Still Mostly Hates Health Law With Supreme Court Ruling Just Weeks Off

If the Supreme Court follows the election returns, its members also no doubt pay attention to opinion polls.

Not that public opinion is the sole driver in the high court's decisions. But the justices certainly are aware of, say, the fact that Americans keep expressing their unhappiness with the Affordable Care Act.

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4:14pm

Wed June 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Bad Day For Unions Made Worse By Calif. Public Pension Initiatives

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 5:02 pm

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders at a rally for supporters of Proposition B Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
Gregory Bull AP

Tuesday was, unquestionably, a very bad day for public-employee unions and not just for the reason that got most of the attention, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's success in fending off an attempt to oust him through a recall election.

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5:42pm

Mon June 4, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Rekindles Conservative Doubts With Pick To Lead White House Transition

Mitt and Ann Romney sit behind Michael Leavitt and his wife Jacqueline at the February 2008 funeral of Gordon B. Hinckley, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Romney reportedly has chosen Leavitt to lead his transition team.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

With many conservatives already suspecting that he is a conservative of convenience, Mitt Romney apparently hasn't done himself any favors in their eyes with the man he chose to lead his presidential transition.

Politico broke the story Sunday that Romney has chosen Michael Leavitt to oversee the creation of an executive branch in waiting.

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1:30pm

Fri June 1, 2012
It's All Politics

May Jobless Report Keeps Obama On Defensive, Aids Romney's Offense

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 3:04 pm

Military veterans Kris Hummel (l) and Shane Foley, speak with a TSA representative at a May 15, 2012 job fair in Utica, NY.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

How to convince voters that while the economy isn't roaring, the situation is still improving?

That's President Obama's challenge, made more difficult with every passing month where the jobs report disappoints, as on Friday. The latest Labor Department report informed us that only 69,000 jobs were created in May, less than half what analysts had forecast. Meanwhile, the jobless rate ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent.

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6:55pm

Thu May 31, 2012
It's All Politics

John Edwards' Might've Walked But Trial Still A Warning For Politicians

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 6:48 pm

Former Democratic U.S. Sen. John Edwards (center) and his daughter Cate Edwards leave the federal court Thursday.
Sara D. Davis Getty Images

With a not guilty verdict on one count and the jury deadlocked on five others, it appears John Edwards' federal trial on campaign-finance charges ended with a whimper, certainly from the Justice Department's point of view.

At first blush, it can be argued that how the trial of the former U.S. senator from North Carolina ended may do little to deter politicians. They'll still be able to go forward and rake in money from supporters and, with some sleight of hand, spend that cash on practically anything.

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3:50pm

Thu May 31, 2012
It's All Politics

Bloomberg Becomes Nanny-State Epitome For Some, Giving Obama A Breather

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 4:29 pm

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large sugary drinks was so hard to swallow it caused some to call him a fascist, a word more often hurled at President Obama.
EMMANUEL DUNAND AFP/Getty Images

If nothing else, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has apparently done President Obama a favor.

His Honor's proposed ban on the sale of supersized sugary fountain drinks in his city made the mayor, at least for some, the epitome of Big Government excess, a place many critics, particularly conservatives, typically reserve for the Obama.

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6:33pm

Wed May 30, 2012
It's All Politics

South Dakotan Hopes Video Stroll Ends In Congress

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 6:37 pm

Some of us missed the Jeff Barth video when it first hit the Internet last week, which is like a year ago in web time.

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4:18pm

Wed May 30, 2012
It's All Politics

McCotter Joins Sorry, Brief List Of Incumbents Who Fell Short Of Ballot

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 4:58 pm

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) had the misfortune of being from a state that still requires signatures to get on the ballot.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

In the annals of incumbents failing to get on the ballot, Rep. Thad McCotter's epic fail has some company. Maybe not lots of it since incumbents tend to know, if nothing else, how to work the levers in their favor.

But there have been other incumbents derailed by the requirement to obtain voter signatures to get on ballots even if you sometimes have to go back quite a ways to find them. If it's a wing in the political hall of shame for incumbents, it would be a small room compared, say, to the much larger one for convicted politicos.

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1:39pm

Fri May 25, 2012
It's All Politics

Inhale To The Chief: More Details Of Obama's Pot-Smoking Youth Revealed

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 4:37 pm

A Punahou School yearbook class photo from 1976 that includes the 9th grader who would grow up to become President Obama, but not before he smoked a lot of pot first.
Anonymous AP

The first sneak peak a few weeks back inside journalist David Maraniss' highly anticipated biography of President Obama served up glimpses of the president as a young man in romantic relationships, with information gleaned from early girlfriends.

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1:40pm

Thu May 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Researchers Find Link Between Isolated State Capitals, Corruption

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 1:56 pm

Despite the misspelling and grammar error, the tee-shirt message is clear on a protester at the Illinois capitol on May 16, 2012. It cites two former governors now in federal prison for corruption.
Seth Perlman AP

Do state capitals relatively distant from the major population centers have more corruption than those in more densely populated areas?

Researchers report that they have found an intriguing correlation between political corruption in state capitals and population density.

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11:36am

Thu May 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Reagan Blood Update: It's No Longer For Sale

The Reagans at the George Washington University Medical Center today, April 3, 1981.
Anonymous AP

If you had hoped to bid on the medical-lab vial that purportedly contains the dried remains of a blood sample from President Ronald Reagan taken on the day he was nearly assassinated in March 1981, you're out of luck.

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1:33pm

Wed May 23, 2012
It's All Politics

At Auction, Reagan's Blood Is Pricey But A Bargain Versus Fidel-Signed Flag

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 3:30 pm

It's safe to say that when it comes to recent presidents, Ronald Reagan is the most venerated, especially among Republicans but not exclusively so. Some even accuse conservatives of beatifying the 40th president as though he were on the road to sainthood.

So it's not surprising there would be a Reagan relic out there, specifically a medical-lab vial purportedly containing the dried remains of a blood sample taken from the president on the day he was nearly assassinated in March 1981.

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3:38pm

Tue May 22, 2012
It's All Politics

Under Obama, U.S. Gov't Spends At Lowest Rate In Decades, Says Journalist

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 11:39 am

President Obama is getting a bum rap on the pace of federal spending, a journalist writes.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

(Updated on 5/23/12 @ 11:55 am. See end of post for Romney campaign response.)

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12:49pm

Fri May 18, 2012
It's All Politics

'President Romney's' First Day In Office: All About Reversing Obama Per Ad

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 1:23 pm

Romney "Day One" ad

Challenging an incumbent president means finding ways to narrow the stature gap between the Oval Office occupant and would-be president.

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