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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9:41am

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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2:41pm

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 3:59 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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9:26am

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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4:19pm

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 10:01 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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11:23am

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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9:30am

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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5:16pm

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama's Manufacturing Push Meets Some Expert Skepticism

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 5:30 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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12:23pm

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 2:11 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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9:45am

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 9:47 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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8:56am

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 3:28 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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5:43pm

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 3:28 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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2:16pm

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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5:40pm

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 10:36 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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3:17pm

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 10:36 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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10:33am

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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11:29am

Thu February 9, 2012
It's All Politics

Another Senate Campaign Could See SuperPAC Truce (Or Not)

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:48 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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12:47pm

Wed February 8, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Still Looks Like Frontrunner Even After Santorum's 3-State Romp

Mitt Romney during a lighter moment in Loveland, Colo. on a day when he lost three presidential preference contests, Feb. 7, 2012.
Gerald Herbert AP

Mitt Romney can take solace Wednesday in the words of Mark Hanna, the 19th century Ohio industrialist and political boss who once famously said: "There are two things that are important in politics, money and I can't remember the second."

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4:34pm

Tue February 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Campaign Preemptively Downplays MN, CO And MO Contests

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 4:36 pm

Mitt Romney's campaign had a message Tuesday for those who would try to stop his forward momentum to the Republican presidential nomination — he's got this.

Oh, and Tuesday's contests really don't add up to much of anything really.

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1:54pm

Tue February 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Poll: Majority Of Voters Support Birth-Control Benefit Rule

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 1:57 pm

The Obama administration's controversial decision to require religiously affiliated institutions like universities and medical centers to provide workers with health insurance that covers prescription birth control without a co-pay appears to have support from a majority of voters, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling.

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5:23pm

Mon February 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Fight For GOP Soul, SuperPACs Spur Negative Political Ad Explosion

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 7:08 pm

Anyone already fatigued from the high rate of negative political ads on TV and radio may want to turn off all their electronics until after Election Day.

Because there's room for it to get significantly worse, Vanderbilt University political scientist John Geer told All Things Considered co-host Audie Cornish Monday.

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12:10pm

Mon February 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Super Bowl's Political Ads Stir Emotions Amid Beer, Chips And Car Ads

Clint Eastwood provided a Super Bowl surprise.
Chrysler ad screenshot

1:24pm

Fri February 3, 2012
It's All Politics

If Romney Misspoke About 'Poor' Why Did He Later Repeat Statement?

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 3:10 pm

(Revised at 2:19 pm ET)

In an interview Thursday, Mitt Romney said he "misspoke" when he infamously said earlier in the week that he was not concerned about the very poor because they had a safety net, and the very rich but, instead, was focused on the middle class.

Speaking of the CNN interview that has caused Romney a world of trouble, the Republican presidential frontrunner told Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun during an interview program called Face to Face:

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5:04pm

Thu February 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Axelrod Argues Obama Economic Policies Worked, Though There's More To Do

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 12:57 pm

David Axelrod.
Brian Kersey AP

David Axelrod, President Obama's political strategist, has what appears to be — from outside the president's re-election campaign, at least — a problem.

Back in early 2009, when the Obama presidency was still brand new, the president gave that NBC News interview in which he talked about his administration being a "one-term proposition" if the economy didn't snap back in time for his re-election.

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12:47pm

Tue January 31, 2012
It's All Politics

Florida GOP Primary Let Romney Show Skill In Political Knife Fight

Mitt Romney had reason to smile on Florida primary day, Jan. 31, 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

With virtually all polls giving him a solid lead among Florida's Republican voters, Mitt Romney is expected to handily win the Sunshine State's GOP primary Tuesday, putting him back on course for his party's presidential nomination.

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4:55pm

Mon January 30, 2012
It's All Politics

Sen. Jon Tester Decries Citizens United's Impact In Montana, Nationally

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 8:30 am

Because he sees Citizens United as subverting democracy, Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, proposes a constitutional amendment to reverse it.
Charles Dharapak AP

The contest for the seat held by Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, is one of the potentially close 2012 races that could ultimately decide whether Democrats maintain control of Congress' upper chamber.

As such, the battle is attracting attention from outside groups hoping their financial assistance will make a difference for both the first-term Democrat and his Republican challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg, the state's sole House member and a former lieutenant governor.

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1:56pm

Mon January 30, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Had Testy Target In Gingrich; Will Obama Likewise Oblige?

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 2:26 pm

Will Mitt Romney be able to get under President Obama's skin the way Gov. Jan Brewer says she did?
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

With Mitt Romney poised to win the Florida Republican primary, and maybe by a significant margin if the latest polls are correct, it's worth asking: how did the former Massachusetts governor manage to stop Newt Gingrich's surge coming out of South Carolina?

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11:54am

Wed January 25, 2012
It's All Politics

Poll: Romney Has Large Lead Among Florida Hispanic Voters

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 12:06 pm

Mitt Romney hasn't had a lot of good news lately but he did get some positive information Wednesday — a new Univision/ABC News poll gives him a significant lead over Newt Gingrich among Florida Latinos less than a week before the Florida Republican primary.

The survey found that 35 percent of respondents said they would vote for Romney while 21 percent said Gingrich was their choice. Rep. Ron Paul was at six percent and Rick Santorum at seven percent.

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12:09pm

Tue January 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Taxes May Be Legally Sound But They're Politically Dicey

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:30 pm

Mitt Romney greets audience members at the National Gypsum Co. in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

The income fairness debate has just gotten a lot more interesting. And it's taking place in anything but Mitt Romney's "quiet rooms."

Romney's release of his federal tax details for 2010 and 2011 came the morning that President Obama was preparing to deliver his State of the Union address, a speech in which he was expected to make the increasing gap between the superwealthy and everyone else a major topic of the evening.

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12:26am

Tue January 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Attacks, Gingrich Doesn't As Both Give GOP Voters Reasons To Doubt

After Newt Gingrich's bravura performance in the final South Carolina debate and his drubbing of Mitt Romney on primary day, the former speaker's challenge in Monday night's debate in Tampa, Fla., was to maintain if not increase his momentum eight days before the Florida Republican presidential primary.

Meanwhile, Romney's challenge was to give his supporters who were shell-shocked by the Palmetto State results reasons to believe he had it in him to turn it around, to stand to do what needed to be done to beat Gingrich in Florida.

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5:43pm

Sun January 22, 2012
It's All Politics

Gabrielle Giffords' Resignation Message A Reminder Of Gains, Losses

Originally published on Sun January 22, 2012 6:06 pm

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, with her husband, Mark Kelly, leads the Pledge of Allegiance at a Jan. 8 service to remember the Tuscon shooting victims.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Gabrielle Giffords.

The name of the Democratic congresswoman from Arizona will forever be associated with one of the most tragic attacks on a member of Congress, the shootings in Tucson last year that killed six and left 13 wounded, including the congresswoman.

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