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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It's All Politics
10:29 am
Wed January 18, 2012

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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It's All Politics
7:33 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Internet Blackout Puts Washington Online Piracy In Limelight

Screenshot of Wikipedia landing page.
Wikipedia screenshot

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 9:06 am

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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It's All Politics
2:52 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Wisconsin Democrats Exceed Million-Signature Mark For Walker Recall

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

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 3:48 pm

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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It's All Politics
1:00 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 1:35 pm

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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It's All Politics
8:40 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Obama Government-Streamlining Offer Creates GOP Dilemma

President Obama proposal to streamline government will be challenging for the GOP to counter.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 10:54 am

Maybe even if it weren't a general-election year, President Obama would still be proposing that Congress give him the power to merge federal agencies to make the government smaller and more efficient.

But the fact is it is the year in which the president is seeking re-election, a year in which both the eventual Republican presidential nominee and Obama's GOP opponents in Congress will assert hundreds of times before it's over that he is a big-government Democrat.

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It's All Politics
6:09 am
Fri January 13, 2012

New Mitt Romney Ad Defends His Bain Capital Career

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 9:57 am

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It's All Politics
1:31 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Bill Janklow's Death Gives South Dakota Tribal Leader Chance To Vent

When someone dies, the eulogies roll in, the higher the stature of the departed, the more stately the praise.

And that's certainly somewhat true for Bill Janklow, South Dakota's former congressman and governor who died Thursday from his brain cancer.

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It's All Politics
9:55 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Obama's Ex-Car Czar Defends Romney, Bain From GOP Attacks

Steven Rattner.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 10:13 am

Steven Rattner, the Wall Street financier who oversaw the Obama Administration's successful rescues of General Motors and Chrysler, now comes to the aid of some other beleaguered members of corporate America — Mitt Romney in his former role as a private-equity CEO, and Bain Capital, the company the Republican presidential candidate once ran.

In a Politico opinion piece, former "car czar" Rattner defends Romney and Bain which he says was among the better angels in the world of private-equity firms.

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It's All Politics
1:22 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Expert: Pollsters Undersampled Paul's Young, Indie New Hampshire Voters

Young voters at the University of New Hampshire listen to Rep. Ron Paul on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:38 pm

Did pollsters underestimate the strength of Rep. Ron Paul's New Hampshire support because they didn't include enough younger voters or independents in their samples?

Yes, argues Stefan Hankin, a Washington, D.C. based pollster in a piece on the Campaign and Elections website.

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It's All Politics
5:34 am
Wed January 11, 2012

'Down And Dirty,' South Carolina Has History Of Quashing Challengers

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney laugh during a campaign event on Jan. 5 in Charleston, S.C.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:23 pm

Now it's South Carolina's turn.

If the Palmetto State, the "First in the South" primary, plays its traditional role in the Republican presidential nomination process, it will be where the White House hopes of virtually every candidate except the eventual nominee will go to die in about 10 days.

It's not for nothing that it's called the "South Carolina Firewall." And at this moment, it's looking like it's Romney's firewall.

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It's All Politics
6:01 am
Tue January 10, 2012

What GOP Candidates Need From New Hampshire

If the New Hampshire primary goes as widely expected, Mitt Romney should emerge the winner among the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. For weeks, polls in the state have shown him with a commanding lead.

But the 2012 campaign season has already delivered some surprises. Maybe New Hampshire will provide the latest in the series of unexpected twists?

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It's All Politics
10:29 pm
Sat January 7, 2012

New Hampshire Debate Left Us Really Ready For Some Football

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (left to right) take their positions after a break in a debate in Manchester, N.H., Saturday.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Sun January 8, 2012 9:25 pm

Many of the journalists and professional political types who dutifully watched Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire probably had the same thought occur to them at several points: "For this we missed most of the NFL wildcard game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions?"

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It's All Politics
2:17 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

What Does Santorum's Iowa Rise Mean? Likely Not Much

Rick Santorum with news media after a campaign stop in Indianola, Iowa.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 7:04 pm

Because the news media abhor the absence of drama as much as nature supposedly detests vacuums, Rick Santorum's rise in recent polls of likely Iowa Republican presidential primary caucus voters definitely scratches a journalistic itch.

Santorum's ascent to the top three in Iowa polls, along with Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, has spiced up the race, especially after the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania spent so many months stuck in the caboose of GOP candidates.

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It's All Politics
9:23 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Boehner's 2012 Challenges Highlighted By Payroll Tax Misstep

House Speaker John Boehner announces a payroll tax cut extension agreement, December 22, 2011.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 10:09 am

When the histories of the current 112th Congress are finally written, maybe it all will become clear.

But for right now, there seem to be many more questions than answers.

For instance, why did House Republicans ever think it was a good idea to stake out a position on the payroll-tax issue that would leave them holding the bag for a new year's tax increase for 160 million workers? That has now been averted with Congress' passage Friday morning of a two-month extension of the current payroll-tax holiday.

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It's All Politics
10:27 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Romney Regains Stride; Gingrich Shows Old Newt At Sioux City Debate

Mitt Romney returned to form in the final Republican presidential debate before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Romney, who had perhaps his shakiest debate performance in Des Moines over the weekend, appeared to regain his composure in Thursday night's debate in Sioux City, Iowa.

He managed to once again convey the sense that he was the one GOP candidate of the seven remaining who could credibly stand on the same stage with President Obama next fall, the most electable of the candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination.

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It's All Politics
3:59 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Iowa Gov. Branstad On GOP White House Contest: 'It's A Wide Open Race'

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 7:14 am

Iowa's popular Gov. Terry Branstad hasn't endorsed any of the Republican presidential candidates crisscrossing his state yet.

Which means he can at least claim to be above the intramural GOP fray scheduled to end in a few weeks when his state's Republican voters attend caucuses to choose their preference for their party's White House nominee.

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It's All Politics
10:10 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Sioux City Debate: GOP Candidates' Last Joint Meeting Before Voting Starts

The Republican presidential debates have mattered more this year than anything else in determining which candidate had the momentum and the lead in the race for the White House nomination.

Thus, Thursday evening's Sioux City, Iowa debate (Fox News, 9 pm ET) could be decisive in narrowing the gap between Newt Gingrich and the rest of the field or cementing his frontrunner status.

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It's All Politics
10:38 pm
Sat December 10, 2011

Gingrich Gets Through Debate Unscathed While Romney Doesn't

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in a debate give and take, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 8:43 am

The $10,000 bet offer.

If Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, is remembered for anything, it may be for that moment where Mitt Romney made what seemed to many a substantial blunder by offering to wager Texas Gov. Rick Perry $10,000 on whether the governor had his facts right about Romney's record.

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It's All Politics
2:56 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Obama In No Appeasing Mood As He Goes After Republicans

It has been President Obama's misfortune to be accused of appeasement by both his political supporters and foes.

For much of his presidency, liberals have accused the president of being too willing to compromise away their priorities in his negotiations with Republicans.

Meanwhile, Republicans have called Obama an appeaser for not doing more to constrain U.S. enemies in the Middle East, specifically Iran.

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It's All Politics
12:01 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Rick Perry Wears Faith On (Barn Coat) Sleeve In New Iowa Ad

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 12:48 pm

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It's All Politics
3:24 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Mitt Romney Declines Donald Trump's Debate Invite

Mitt Romney entertains a toddler in Paradise Valley, AZ, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 4:35 pm

Donald Trump's planned Republican presidential debate lost a major reason for tuning in: watching Mitt Romney contend with Newt Gingrich, the latest rival to claim frontrunner status.

Romney said Tuesday he planned to skip the debate to be moderated by Trump, the TV reality show star and real-estate developer.

The former Massachusetts governor told Fox News' Neil Cavuto of his decision to decline the invitation to the Trump debate being sponsored by NewsMax and ION TV.

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It's All Politics
1:07 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Maryland Robocall Conviction Puts Political Dirty Tricksters On Notice

Election-day dirty tricksters be forewarned: getting caught trying in a voter-suppression scheme can draw you a prison term, at least in Maryland.

That's one take away message from Tuesday's conviction of the man who served as campaign manager for the effort of Maryland's former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.'s to regain the governorship.

A Baltimore jury found Paul Schurick guilty of election fraud on state charges related to 2010 voter-suppression robocalls meant to keep some African American voters, predominantly Democrats, away from the polls on election day.

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It's All Politics
8:07 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Newt Gingrich, GOP Frontrunner, Plays Campaign Cash Catch Up

Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks with a supporter in New York City, Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 9:54 am

When it comes to polls, Newt Gingrich is a strong frontrunner. New surveys in Iowa and South Carolina show him lapping the rest of the Republican presidential field and holding strong double digit leads.

But when it comes to money, the essential for running an effective modern campaign, Gingrich is still not a top-tier candidate.

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It's All Politics
4:15 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Ron Paul's 'Big Dog' Ad One Of GOP Race's Coolest Commercials

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 5:01 pm

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It's All Politics
8:56 am
Wed November 30, 2011

In Gingrich, Romney May Be Facing Toughest Foe Yet

Republican voters may have saved the best for last in terms of the latest obstacle they've placed between Mitt Romney and what was supposed to have been his inevitable march to the 2012 Republican presidential nomination — Newt Gingrich.

Essentially written off after his campaign seemingly imploded last summer and because of the manifest personal baggage he brings to a presidential campaign, Gingrich stuck around long enough to have his moment, to catch fire after Herman Cain flamed out.

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It's All Politics
5:27 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Barney Frank's Two Top Goals: Protecting Wall St Reform, Social Spending

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 5:49 pm

Rep. Barney Frank, the long-time liberal voice (and a fast-talking, brusque one at that) who announced he won't be running for re-election, discussed with NPR's Guy Raz, co-host of All Things Considered, the items of unfinished business he plans attend to during his remaining year in Congress.

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It's All Politics
10:07 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

At GOP Security Debate, Gingrich's Tolerance On Immigration Stands Out

Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich before a GOP presidential debate in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed November 23, 2011 11:00 am

The big theme out of Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate in Washington was Newt Gingrich's compassionate stance toward illegal immigrants who have put down deep roots in the U.S.

That position by Gingrich, who has recently surged to join Mitt Romney at the head of the Republican field according to recent polls, conflicted with the more hardline views of many conservative voters.

Many of those GOP voters who will decide their party's nominee oppose allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S., period.

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It's All Politics
12:02 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Supercommittee's Failure Could Have Super Political Fallout

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., center, co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on a Deficit Reduction, with Sen. Jon Kyl, arrive for a Sept. 2011 meeting,
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 1:06 pm

With the members of the congressional deficit-cutting supercommittee essentially announcing that they couldn't get to "yes," the nation is only seeing the latest turn of the screw in the partisan paralysis gripping policymakers in Washington. We all know it is far from the last.

Coming as it does now less than a year before the 2012 general election, the panel's failure to achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction means each major political will now be focused on trying to persuade voters that the other party is more responsible for the impasse.

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