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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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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3:31pm

Wed February 1, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Hits Romney, GOP Congress On Housing (Without Naming Them)

President Obama holds a proposed mortgage application in Falls Church, Va., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.
Cliff Owen AP

When President Obama on Wednesday said at an event to promote an administration proposal to help pinched homeowners: "But it is wrong for anybody to suggest that the only option for struggling, responsible homeowners is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom," he clearly had someone in mind.

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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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3:28pm

Sun January 22, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney, Gingrich Appeals To GOP Right Raises General Election Hurdles

With Newt Gingrich beating Mitt Romney in South Carolina as soundly as the Johnny Rebels in 1861 thrashed the Billy Yanks at Bull Run (or the First Battle of Manassas, depending on your view), the Republican presidential nomination contest marches southward to Florida.

There in the Sunshine State, the campaign promises to be an even more hard- fought affair than in South Carolina, with both candidates battling for their party's conservative soul by out-righting each other.

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9:32am

Sat January 21, 2012
It's All Politics

South Carolina: Another Unpredictable Point In Campaign Full Of Them

The race for the 2012 Republican presidential campaign has been anything but predictable.

It's been the first contest in memory, for instance, with a candidate, Mitt Romney, who was reputedly the inevitable nominee but so suspect in many Republicans' eyes that they kept searching for an alternative. That has led to nearly every candidate in the crowded field, at one time or another, challenging for frontrunner status.

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12:40am

Fri January 20, 2012
It's All Politics

Gingrich, Santorum Shine, Romney Doesn't At Last Debate Before S.C. Primary

Republican presidential candidates (from left) Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul participate in the GOP presidential candidate debate at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday.
David Goldman AP

The last Republican presidential debate before Saturday's South Carolina primary was expected to be lively. It didn't disappoint.

It was clear, even before the four remaining candidates met on the stage in Charleston, SC, that at least three of them would face some fairly high-stakes moments that could change the course of the contest. The question going into the debate was would they be able to master those moments?

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4:22pm

Thu January 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama's First 2012 TV Ad Defends Energy Record, Dings Koch Bros

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 5:00 pm

President Obama's campaign on Thursday released its first TV ad of the 2012 election cycle, and it's a defense of his record on energy.

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3:32pm

Thu January 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Last GOP Debate Before S.C. Primary Could Produce Political Fireworks

If there's ever been a presidential debate with as much news happening in the hours leading up to the event, it's hard to remember when.

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5:28pm

Wed January 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Keystone: Dead Pipeline Lives On As Election-Year Issue

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 5:47 pm

Now that President Obama has made his decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, an obvious question is what will it mean for the 2012 presidential election?

Obviously, no one really knows the answer to that though that won't stop weeks if not months of speculation.

The key to Keystone is, which side will have the most success in framing its case to enough voters for it to make a difference?

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12:29pm

Wed January 18, 2012
It's All Politics

McCain's 2008 Anti-Mitt Romney Oppo Research Raised 2012 Themes

A document that purportedly represents opposition research targeting Mitt Romney from Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign was posted online by Buzzfeed reporter Andy Kaczynski.

Immediately noticeable is how many of criticisms of Romney by his rivals during the current race for the Republican presidential nomination could just have easily come from McCain's opposition research of four years ago.

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9:33am

Wed January 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Internet Blackout Puts Washington Online Piracy In Limelight

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 11:06 am

Screenshot of Wikipedia landing page.
Wikipedia screenshot

SOPA and PIPA (no, they're not the Duchess of Cambridge's sisters) will be on the minds of a lot more people Wednesday because of the online protests by Wikipedia, Google and other popular websites over the anti-piracy legislation with the catchy acronyms currently under consideration in Congress.

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4:52pm

Tue January 17, 2012
It's All Politics

Wisconsin Democrats Exceed Million-Signature Mark For Walker Recall

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 5:48 pm

Jeremy Levinson, (l) a lawyer to the recall committees, talks about the petitions as Mike Tate (c) Wisconsin Democratic Party chair listens, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012.
Andy Manis AP

How badly do Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's opponents want him out of office? So badly they collected significantly more signatures than they needed to ensure a recall election for the governor. A lot more.

We're talking more than a million signatures, according to Wisconsin Democrats who, in order to meet the Tuesday deadline, were hauling boxes of documents to the state office responsible for reviewing them.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:

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3:00pm

Fri January 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Gingrich Asks SuperPAC To Correct Or Pull 'King Of Bain' Romney Movie, Ads

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 3:35 pm

Newt Gingrich at the opening of his Florida campaign headquarters in Orlando, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Barely a day has gone by without Newt Gingrich complaining about the inaccuracy of ads run against him by a superPAC supporting Mitt Romney.

So now that an anti-Mitt Romney film purchased by a superPAC supporting Gingrich has been criticized for numerous inaccuracies, Gingrich has asked that the film's creators and the funders paying for ads using film snippets edit out the falsehoods or take the ads and film down entirely.

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