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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12:15pm

Wed November 2, 2011
It's All Politics

New Hampshire Chooses Jan. 10 As Primary Date

The schedule for the first four Republican presidential caucuses and primaries appeared officially set Wednesday with New Hampshire announcing that it would hold its first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 10.

That would come exactly seven days after the Iowa caucuses, which were moved to Jan. 3, the first Tuesday of the new year, and which will kick off the process by which Republicans will choose their party's nominee to contest President Obama for the White House.

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12:29pm

Mon October 31, 2011
It's All Politics

Poll: Cain And Perry Tied In Texas

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 12:56 pm

In what may be the most impressive and surprising sign of the Herman Cain phenomenon yet, the Republican presidential candidate was essentially tied with native son Gov. Rick Perry in Texas, of all places.

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll put Cain at 27 percent support and Perry, the three-term governor at 26 percent. The margin of error was plus/minus 3.46 percent.

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9:00am

Mon October 31, 2011
It's All Politics

Herman Cain's Long Odds Get Lengthier After Sex Harassment Report

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 11:48 am

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Herman Cain on CBS' "Face the Nation" in Washington Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011.

Chris Usher AP

It should have been another good weekend for Herman Cain. It wasn't.

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3:42pm

Fri October 28, 2011
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney Criticized For Slow Motion, Climate-Change 'Flip Flop'

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 4:00 pm

Mitt Romney.

JIM WATSON AFP/Getty Images

Mitt Romney drew barbs Friday for his continued shift to the ideological right on the climate change issue.

Actually, the criticism for Romney that blew in from both the political right and left came as critics accused him of a full flip flop on global warming.

Romney's political foes jumped on comments he made in Pittsburgh Thursday at a campaign appearance.

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1:57pm

Tue October 25, 2011
It's All Politics

Rick Perry Offers Flatter Tax In Effort To Regain Traction

Because you can apparently never have enough flat-tax plans in a race for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday officially introduced his own version.

That gives us two flat tax proposals in the GOP race, Perry's and Herman Cain's (all together now) 9-9-9 plan.

Actually, Perry's plan is not so much a flat tax as a flatter tax since he maintains some deductions and exemptions and even the current tax code for those who would prefer to use it.

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11:36am

Mon October 24, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama's Executive-Power Use Shows He Still Holds Some Cards

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 1:22 pm

Auctioneer Eddie Burks calls out bids during a foreclosure auction in Las Vegas, April 2011.

Julie Jacobson AP

An advantage of being an Oval Office incumbent seeking re-election was readily evident Monday in President Obama's roll-out of his administration's latest effort to help struggling homeowners.

With many Americans either facing foreclosure and others, because of declining property values or much tighter lending standards, unable to refinance their mortgages to take advantage of lower interest rates, the Obama administration is doing extensive renovations of its current housing policies.

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12:25pm

Wed October 19, 2011
It's All Politics

Perry-Romney Feud Over Illegal Workers Took Oddly Long Time To Develop

Originally published on Thu October 20, 2011 12:43 pm

Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry clash at Republican presidential debate, Oct. 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nv.

Ethan Miller Getty Images

With all the time he's had to prepare since 2008 when he last ran for president, you might have thought Mitt Romney would have come up with a more persuasive and sympathetic defense to the charge that illegal immigrants once worked on his Massachusetts property.

And with all the news coverage that issue got during the 2008 presidential campaign, including being raised in GOP debates, you might have also thought that Texas Gov. Rick Perry would have resorted to the story sooner to put Romney on the defensive and counter Romney's immigration attacks on him.

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4:41pm

Tue October 18, 2011
It's All Politics

What Word Comes To Mind When You Think Of The GOP Candidates?

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 5:17 pm

How to explain Herman Cain's ascent among Republican presidential candidates?

Perhaps a partial reason is that he so far evokes more positive than negative responses among Republicans and GOP leaning independents in a Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey than two other highly touted candidates in the race, Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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2:57pm

Tue October 18, 2011
It's All Politics

GOP Las Vegas Debate Finds Focus On Cain As Romney Cruises

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 8:09 pm

Mitt Romney and Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (r) take photos with supporters as Romney opens his state headquarters in Las Vegas, October 17, 2011.

Ethan Miller Getty Images

As Republican presidential candidates gird for their eighth debate, this one in Las Vegas, Nev., Tuesday evening, a central question is: how will the Herman Cain phenomenon shape the event?

With the one-time pizza company CEO near or at the top of the GOP field depending on which poll you consult, he's likely to draw more attention from the other candidates at the debate than was true in any of their previous meetings. The two-hour debate will be carried by CNN at 8 pm ET.

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4:03pm

Fri October 14, 2011
It's All Politics

Rick Perry Offers His Version Of 'Drill, Baby, Drill'

Originally published on Sat October 15, 2011 2:24 pm

Texas Gov. Rick Perry lays out his energy plan at a US Steel plant in West Mifflin, Pa., Oct. 14, 2011.

Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Ask yourself what sort of energy plan you would likely get from a conservative governor from the oil and gas patch who gets a lot of political and financial support from the fossil-fuel industry and who is openly hostile to the federal government and that's pretty much the energy plan Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed Friday.

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2:13pm

Tue October 11, 2011
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney Gets Chris Christie's Endorsement

Back in 2009 when he campaigned to be New Jersey's chief executive, then former U.S. prosecutor Chris Christie got help from Mitt Romney who visited the Garden State to endorse his fellow Republican in that state's GOP primary.

So it wasn't particularly surprising that on Tuesday, now-Gov. Christie would return the favor by endorsing Romney's bid to be the Republican Party presidential nominee in an afternoon news conference.

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6:30pm

Wed October 5, 2011
It's All Politics

Millionaire Surtax A 'Desperate' Act To Conservatives, 'Sensible' To Liberals

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 6:57 pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveils his surtax proposal flanked by Sens. Richard Durbin (l) and Charles Schumer, Oct. 5, 2011.

Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Senate Democrats haven't exactly been moving as one to embrace President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill.

The disagreement in their ranks arises partly from how the president proposes to pay for his plan, an approach seen by some senators as potentially making their already difficult path to re-election even more so.

The president envisions increasing taxes on couples who, after deductions, have at least $250,000 in taxable income.

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11:00am

Wed October 5, 2011
It's All Politics

W. VA Democratic Guv's Narrow Win May Be Ominous Sign For Party

Democrats are surely relieved to have held onto the W. Virginia governorship, with Tuesday's special election victory by acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin over Republican Bill Maloney.

But it was a narrow 50 percent to 47 percent win that could portend trouble when Tomblin once again stands for election in 14 months.

Democrats have dominated W. Virginia politics for decades, controlling local and state offices though in presidential elections President Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to win the state in 1996.

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11:39am

Mon October 3, 2011
It's All Politics

S. Carolina To Hold Primary Jan. 21

Originally published on Fri October 7, 2011 6:36 pm

South Carolina will hold its Republican presidential primary Jan. 21, moving the date forward to stay ahead of Florida.

Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada are all expected to now move their caucuses and primaries up as well to maintain their traditional early spots in the presidential-nominee selection process calendar.

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9:45am

Mon October 3, 2011
It's All Politics

Rick Perry Caught Between Racist Rock And Toxic Mortgages

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 5:40 pm

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to Hampton, NH audience, Oct. 1, 2011.

Kayana Szymczak Getty Images

If there's been a worse week and a half for a presidential candidate, it's hard to remember when.

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12:53pm

Fri September 30, 2011
It's All Politics

Florida's Move Means Primaries, Like Holiday Season, Will Start Ever Earlier

The decision by Florida's Republican officials to move the state's presidential primary into January from March will have a range of effects, some foreseeable, some not.

By advancing its primary date to Jan. 31, Florida makes it virtually certain the four traditional early states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — will now move their caucuses and primaries to earlier in January to maintain their status as the earliest contests.

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12:04pm

Thu September 29, 2011
It's All Politics

Romney Withstands Perry Surge To Retake GOP Lead In National Poll

Mitt Romney may be back on track to the Republican presidential nomination.

It's still early and nothing is certain, of course. But the signs are that Romney has resumed what seemed, until a few weeks ago, his steady march towards becoming his party's standard bearer against President Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

If that Obama-Romney race should happen, by the way, Harvard Law School couldn't lose since it would be the first time two of its graduates faced each other as major-party nominees for the White House.

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12:30pm

Tue September 27, 2011
It's All Politics

Heckler Gives Obama Chance To Affirm His Christian Faith

There are a few things to say about about the incident in which President Obama was heckled by an apparent militant Christian at Monday night's campaign fundraiser at Los Angeles' House of Blues in Los Angeles. (My colleague Mark Memmott reports on the incident over at The Two-Way blog.)

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10:44am

Tue September 27, 2011
It's All Politics

Despite Senate Spending Deal, Nation Stuck In Stormy Political Pattern

Many Americans view Congress as a disaster, albeit one whose shifting tectonic plates are caused by humans not geology.

So it was probably fitting that FEMA, whose mission is partly to mitigate calamities stepped in to do just that Monday and rescue the nation's lawmakers from the dire circumstances the policymakers had created.

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1:59pm

Mon September 26, 2011
It's All Politics

Flashback: Herman Cain's 1994 Bill Clinton Debate On Health Care

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 11:34 am

Herman Cain, who won the Florida Republican presidential straw poll over the weekend, is no newbie when it comes to showing up career politicians. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was just the latest one to be Hermanized by the former Godfather's pizza company executive.

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11:55am

Mon September 26, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama' 'Stop Complaining' Order To Black Caucus Causes Stir

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 2:25 pm

President Obama addresses a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner, Sept. 24, 2011.
NICHOLAS KAMM AFP/Getty Images

President Obama may have fired up some of the most loyal voters in his political base, African Americans, through a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus, though not in the way he intended.

After running down a list of his administration's accomplishments on behalf of middle and lower income Americans and calling for passage of his jobs bill, Obama concluded his speech by saying:

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1:04pm

Fri September 23, 2011
It's All Politics

House, Senate Stalemate Over Spending Bill Days Before Potential Shutdown

Speaker John Boehner didn't provide much reason Friday to hope that efforts to avert a federal government shutdown next week wouldn't go to the 11th hour like all congressional spending negotiations since last November's election.

Asked at a brief availability with journalists in the House Press Gallery if he had talked with Sen. Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who sets the Senate's agenda, Boehner said:

"I had a conversation with the Senate majority leader before I came down. There wasn't much progress made."

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2:32am

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 9:28 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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5:31pm

Thu September 22, 2011
It's All Politics

Lamar Alexander: Leaving Senate Leadership Gives Room To Deal

Originally published on Thu September 22, 2011 6:09 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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12:50pm

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 1:45 pm

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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6:04pm

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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1:23pm

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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8:51am

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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12:34am

Tue September 13, 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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4:05pm

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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