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.

Pages

4:52pm

Tue July 12, 2011
It's All Politics

McConnell Proposes Congress Indirectly Give Obama Debt-Ceiling Power

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and other GOP Senate leaders speak to journalists on Tuesday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

In a proposal that appears to be mostly about finding a way to raise the debt ceiling while protecting his fellow congressional Republicans from having to vote to do so, Sen. Mitch McConnell has suggested a way in which Congress could effectively give President Obama the power to raise the debt ceiling.

But it would also seem meant to potentially put Obama on the defensive by having him take the political heat for raising the debt ceiling. Repeated polls have found a majority of Americans opposed to a higher debt ceiling.

Read more

11:47am

Wed July 6, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama Taking His Economic Message To Twitter Town Hall

White House.gov screenshot

When you're a U.S. president, you can never have too many followers. So it makes sense, then, that President Obama would eventually turn to that ultimate population of followers, the 140-character delimited Twitterverse by holding the first White House Twitter town hall Wednesday.

At the event scheduled to start at 2 pm eastern time and "presented" by Twitter, people will be able to tweet their questions to the hashtag #AskObama.

Read more

11:11am

Tue July 5, 2011
It's All Politics

Debt-Ceiling Crisis: 27 Days Until D-Day And Stalemate Continues

With the July 4 holiday behind us, it's now 27 days until D-day, with the "D" standing for default, which the Obama Administration assures us the federal government will do on its debts unless Congress increases the nation's $14.3 debt ceiling before then.

Where do things stand? Pretty much where they did before the holiday, except now there's even less time.

Read more

8:33am

Fri July 1, 2011
It's All Politics

State Woebegone: Minnesota Government Shuts Down In Fiscal Dispute

In a battle between a governmental chief executive and legislature over taxing and spending that is getting wearingly familiar in the U.S., the Minnesota state government shut down after Republican lawmakers refused to consider tax hikes on the wealthy proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton of the Democratic-Farmer- Labor Party.

Tom Scheck of NPR member station Minnesota Public Radio, reported the following:

Read more

5:18pm

Wed June 29, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama Debt-Ceiling Pitch Sounds Re-Election Themes

Watching President Obama Wednesday at his first full-scale news conference since February, it was difficult not to be aware of the two simultaneous campaigns he was waging.

The first and more short-term campaign was his effort to get congressional Republicans to agree to raise the federal debt ceiling by the Aug. 2 deadline set by the U.S. Treasury Department to avert a debt default by the U.S. government.

Since the economy is the issue that tops all others for voters, Obama said the debt-ceiling was about jobs.

Read more

7:05pm

Mon June 27, 2011
It's All Politics

Rod Blagojevich's Tongue Finally Meets Its Match - 17 Federal Convictions

Rod Blagojevich's seemingly irrepressible tongue finally met its match — convictions on 17 of 20 federal corruption counts.

Until Monday, there seemed to be very little that was capable of quieting the voluble former Illinois governor whose powers of self-justification were remarkable, even for a politician.

Read more

12:43pm

Fri June 24, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama, Biden To Meet With Reid, McConnell On Debt Talks

There's apparently at least one congressional Republican leader willing to sit down with President Obama to talk about raising the debt ceiling. The White House on Friday issued the following statement:

Read more

6:14pm

Tue June 21, 2011
It's All Politics

Roles Reverse As Obama Seems More Hawkish Than Many In GOP

How much has the nation's political landscape changed after 10 years, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and whatever we define Libya as?

So much so that a Democratic president who ran as an anti-war candidate, at least on Iraq, has come to look like a hawk when compared to Republican presidential candidates.

On the eve of his Wednesday evening speech to the nation in which he will announce how he plans to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan, it's Obama who finds himself fending off calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces there.

Read more

9:56am

Tue June 21, 2011
It's All Politics

Huntsman Signals He Plans To Take High Road To White House

Based on an advance text of Jon Huntsman's kick off speech for his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, he plans to take the high road to the White House.

In the first speech of his official presidential campaign, Huntsman declared he would disagree with President Obama, the Democrat in the White House, as well his fellow Republicans competing to oust the president, without demonizing them.

The former Utah governor also offers a dual vision of America — one of a dire future, the other more upbeat.

Read more

6:23pm

Mon June 20, 2011
It's All Politics

McCain: Forest Service Gave Info That Illegal Immigrants Started Wildfires

Sen. John McCain caused a stir over the weekend when he claimed that some of the wildfires in his state of Arizona were caused by illegal border crossers.

But on Monday McCain issued a statement insisting that the information came from someone with the U.S. Forest Service.

Some immigration activists accused McCain of wrongly blaming undocumented immigrants for at least one fire and perhaps more based on little to no evidence.

Read more

5:32pm

Mon June 20, 2011
It's All Politics

Mayors Ask Congress To End Iraq, Afghan Wars, Reroute Money To U.S. Cities

For the first time since the Vietnam War, U.S. mayors have passed a resolution calling on Congress to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so the money can be rerouted to domestic priorities.

Read more

3:18pm

Mon June 20, 2011
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney Draws GOP Criticism For Abortion, Healthcare, Libya Stances

For a brief moment during the still-early campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the debate in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney's fellow Republicans clearly decided to go easy on him.

But the truce, if you could call it that, now appears over. The kid gloves worn during last week's debate have come off.

Over the weekend Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) went after the GOP frontrunner for his refusal to sign the Susan B. Anthony List's anti-abortion pledge.

Read more

12:34pm

Mon June 20, 2011
It's All Politics

Jon Stewart 'Defends' Mainstream Media Against Fox News, Sort Of

Comedian Jon Stewart continued his tour of Fox News Channel shows, visiting with host Chris Wallace's Sunday as he has with Bill O'Reilly before.

A highlight: Stewart's response to Wallace who asked the Comedy Central star why he didn't think other major news outlets like ABC News and the New York Times were as ideologically biased as Stewart insisted Fox News was.

Read more

10:59am

Mon June 20, 2011
It's All Politics

GOP's New Orleans Meeting Sends Mixed Signals

There's no question that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas can rally the Republican Party's activist base.

He did it again at the Republican Leadership Conference gathering in New Orleans over the weekend, delivering the rousing rhetorical smackdown of President Obama he's quite skilled at.

Speaking of Obama, Perry indulged in the kind of overstatement that's typical of hyperpartisan events on the political right or left that's never fails to excite party hardliners.

Read more

8:25pm

Fri June 17, 2011
It's All Politics

A Month In New Job, Chicago Mayor Emanuel Is Having An Impact

Chicago officials be forewarned: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the city's new chief executive, may drop in on you with no notice and administer a snap quiz.

In a conversation with Weekend Edition Saturday, Emanuel told host Scott Simon that he did just that recently.

Between two scheduled events, Emanuel decided to make an impromptu visit to a police precinct in a high crime area which was just assigned 57 additional extra police officers as part of the new mayor's effort to get more police out of desk jobs and onto the streets.

Read more

5:35pm

Fri June 17, 2011
It's All Politics

Pawlenty Keeps Voters Guessing About Which T-Paw They'll Get

Perhaps Mitt Romney's greatest vulnerability is the sense many voters and journalists have of him that his values are situational, that he'll take one position on an issue when it helps him politically and the opposite stance when that's advantageous.

The ideal competitor to a frontrunner with that kind of record then, would arguably be one who could boast of his consistency.

Tim Pawlenty may eventually be able to make that claim. But consistency isn't exactly the word that comes to mind right now with Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor.

Read more

2:53pm

Fri June 17, 2011
It's All Politics

Redistricting Guides: A Sampler

Redistricting is one of the more confusing parts of American democracy to the layperson.

To a certain extent that was intentional, at least historically, on the part of the legislatures and the lawyers who control the process.

So any help in understanding it is much appreciated.

There are quite a few good sources of reliable information out there.

Read more

8:26pm

Thu June 16, 2011
It's All Politics

Ethanol Subsidies Down But Not Out After Senate Opposes Them

Demonstrating just how much concern over the nation's fiscal problems has changed the political climate, ethanol has lost its mojo and now appears vulnerable, with the Senate voting Thursday 73-27 to cut tax subsidies to the industry.

Read more

6:16pm

Thu June 16, 2011
It's All Politics

Reaction To Romney's 'I'm Unemployed', Obama's 'Bumps' Sign Of Silly Season

Ezra Klein, a liberal blogger at the Washington Post suggests that Democrats not pounce on Mitt Romney for the joke he made Thursday at a Florida campaign event featuring unemployed workers.

"I'm also unemployed," Romney joked, after which Democrats accused him of insensitivity, among other things.

Read more

5:19pm

Thu June 16, 2011
It's All Politics

Fiscal Watchdog Corrals Numerous Budget Plans For Comparison

It seems like anyone who wants to be taken seriously in Washington these days has to have his or her own proposal for reducing the nation's deficits and debt. I better get to work on mine.

To help make sense of the mushrooming number of proposals, the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget has a new interactive tool that allows users to compare the growing crop of deficit-reduction plans out there.

Read more

12:33pm

Thu June 16, 2011
It's All Politics

Anthony Weiner's Political Sin: He Picked Bad Time To Be Big Distraction

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) stepped onto an elevator earlier this month after leaving his office in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Rep. Anthony Weiner couldn't exit the scene fast enough for Democrats and didn't.

Initially after the scandal of his lewd tweets to at least six young women broke, he said he wasn't quitting. Then with increasing pressure for his resignation, he appeared to try to buy time by letting it be known that he was entering rehab.

In the end, however, he was only able to get two weeks past Memorial Day weekend when the scandal went public before the pressure became so irresistible that he would be forced on Thursday to announce his resignation.

Read more

10:11am

Thu June 16, 2011
It's All Politics

Republicans Less Hawkish, Thanks To Fiscal Woes, Tea Party

Since at least the time of President Ronald Reagan's military buildup to confront the "evil empire" as he famously dubbed the Soviet Union, Republicans have held the national security high ground in U.S. politics.

But the ground has shifted greatly, with many Republicans now sounding a message that can only be described as "look homeward, America."

Read more

5:39pm

Wed June 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Al Gore Praises Mitt Romney For Accepting Global Warming

Here's an inconvenient truth for Mitt Romney — Al Gore is praising him for accepting the scientific evidence pointing to global warming and the human role in it.

The following is from the ex-vice president's blog:

Good for Mitt Romney — though we've long passed the point where weak lip-service is enough on the Climate Crisis.

Read more

2:42pm

Wed June 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Report: Obama's Big Money Raisers Get Key Posts, Access, Stimulus Dollars

It would be hard if not difficult to find a president who hasn't favored his biggest campaign donors with access to him or other top officials, administration jobs or other perks.

But when a president vowed as a candidate to break money's raptor grip on Washington, then once in office continued some of the very same practices in which big donors are apparently rewarded, then some voters may smell hypocrisy.

Read more

1:02pm

Wed June 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney Advised Against Overconfidence By Key NH News Outlet

In an editorial, the New Hampshire Union-Leader felt the need to rain some on Mitt Romney's post-debate victory lap after sensing he might be prematurely thinking about how he wants to redecorate the Oval Office.

An excerpt:

Read more

12:01pm

Wed June 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Michele Bachmann Charged With 'Unrivaled Extremism' By Daily Beast

Now that she has emerged a brighter rising star in the political firmament after Monday's Republican presidential debate, expect Rep. Michele Bachmann's past to undergo greater scrutiny and become the target of more journalistic profiles, some fairly negative.

The Daily Beast offers up one headlined: "Michele Bachmann's Unrivaled Extremism" by writer Michelle Goldberg.

Read more

7:04pm

Tue June 14, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama Team Focuses On Romney, Pawlenty Or Huntsman As Likely Foes

It may be months before Republican voters actually get the chance to determine who their nominee to be.

But President Obama's re-election team can't wait that long to get their opposition research team going; they've already winnowed the Republican field down to the three GOP candidates they most fear, according to Sam Youngman of The Hill. An excerpt:

Read more

5:46pm

Tue June 14, 2011
It's All Politics

Jon Huntsman To Officially Launch White House Bid Next Week

So Jon Huntsman Jr. is finally going to make it official next week after running something of a shadow presidential campaign since quitting the Obama Administration as U.S. ambassador to China.

The 51-year old former Utah governor said Tuesday he will announce his run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination next week at Liberty State Park in New Jersey which will provide him with a fetching backdrop, the Statue of Liberty in all her mute majesty.

Read more

12:29pm

Tue June 14, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama Seeks Florida's Electoral Votes In Puerto Rico

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 12:34 pm

Maybe it's cynical of us political observers or just an acknowledgement of election-cycle reality.

But perhaps the best prism through which understand President Obama's Puerto Rico visit Tuesday is the electoral college.

Using that filter, his trip is his attempt to make sure Florida's growing Puerto Rican population in his corner next year.

Read more

9:13am

Tue June 14, 2011
It's All Politics

Tim Pawlenty Misses His Big Debate Moment, Pulls 'Obamneycare' Punch

Why did Tim Pawlenty both throw a grenade and then throw his body on the same explosive he had just lobbed?

That's the curious question many people are pondering in the aftermath of Pawlenty's performance at the New Hampshire Republican presidential debate.

On Sunday, Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, uttered his shot heard round the political world when on a morning talk show he created a hybrid beast he dubbed "Obamneycare."

Read more

Pages