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
8:46 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Poll: Cain, Romney, Gingrich Tied; Most In GOP Unfazed By Harassment Charges

"Volatile" is one of the words that probably best describes the race for the Republican presidential nomination and a new CBS News poll captures that flux. The national poll indicates a three-way tie, showing Herman Cain at 18 percent and Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich at 15 percent each.

That's essentially a tie since the margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

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It's All Politics
3:15 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

GOP Michigan Debate: Auto Industry, Herman Cain Likely Topics

Sue McQueen displays her support for GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul outside the debate venue, Rochester, Mich., Nov. 9, 2011.
Scott Olson Getty Images

When the Republican presidential candidates meet Wednesday evening in Michigan for their ninth debate (it feels like there've been many more than that) the main topic up for discussion is supposed to be the economy.

But is there anyone who expects that the travails of Herman Cain won't be a subtopic?

The former Godfather Pizza CEO's flat-tax plan encountered severe turbulence at the last debate and it is likely to experience more during the encounter at Oakland University outside Detroit.

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It's All Politics
8:47 am
Tue November 8, 2011

Herman Cain's Kimmel Show Allred Joke Was Odd Crisis Management

Herman Cain definitely doesn't seem to have this crisis-management thing down yet.

He presumably went on Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday evening to fight the latest charge of sexual misbehavior, this one from Sharon Bialek that he made a vulgar and unwanted sexual come-on to her in 1997 when she was seeking his help for reemployment at the National Restaurant Association.

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It's All Politics
8:22 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Poll: Cain Still Tied With Romney Despite Sex Harassment Claims

There's been anecdotal evidence, and certainly plenty of signs on social media, that many Republicans still say Herman Cain is their choice for president despite the revelation that the restaurant trade group he once headed paid monetary settlements to women who accused him of sexual harassment.

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It's All Politics
2:50 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Third Woman Accuses Herman Cain Of Harassment; Witness Goes Public

Herman Cain's sexual harassment crisis worsened Wednesday with a third woman telling a news organization that he sexually harassed her when they both worked at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, in another stunning turn, a male Republican pollster went on the record with a news organization to say he actually witnessed Cain's alleged harassment of one of the former trade association employees and indicated that the Republican presidential candidate's behavior wasn't exactly a secret at the time.

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It's All Politics
11:56 am
Wed November 2, 2011

Herman Cain And The Race Card

Here we go again with the race-card business.

Questioning the motives of those seeking the truth about the sexual harassment allegations against him when he led the National Restaurant Association, Herman Cain said he suspects critics on the political left of attacking him for racial reasons.

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It's All Politics
10:29 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Poll: Cain And Perry Tied In Texas

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 10:56 am

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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It's All Politics
7:00 am
Mon October 31, 2011

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

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

Chris Usher AP

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 9:48 am

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

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It's All Politics
1:42 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

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

Mitt Romney.

JIM WATSON AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 2:00 pm

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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It's All Politics
11:57 am
Tue October 25, 2011

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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It's All Politics
9:36 am
Mon October 24, 2011

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

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

Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 11:22 am

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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It's All Politics
10:25 am
Wed October 19, 2011

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

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

Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 20, 2011 10:43 am

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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It's All Politics
2:41 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

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

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 3:17 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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It's All Politics
12:57 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

GOP Las Vegas Debate Finds Focus On Cain As Romney Cruises

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

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 6:09 pm

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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It's All Politics
2:03 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

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

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

Originally published on Sat October 15, 2011 12:24 pm

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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It's All Politics
12:13 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

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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It's All Politics
4:30 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

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

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

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 4:57 pm

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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It's All Politics
9:00 am
Wed October 5, 2011

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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It's All Politics
7:45 am
Mon October 3, 2011

Rick Perry Caught Between Racist Rock And Toxic Mortgages

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

Kayana Szymczak Getty Images

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

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

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It's All Politics
10:53 am
Fri September 30, 2011

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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It's All Politics
10:30 am
Tue September 27, 2011

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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It's All Politics
8:44 am
Tue September 27, 2011

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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It's All Politics
11:59 am
Mon September 26, 2011

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

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 9:34 am

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It's All Politics
9:55 am
Mon September 26, 2011

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

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

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 12:25 pm

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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It's All Politics
12:32 am
Fri September 23, 2011

Romney Ensures Perry Has Long, Hard Night At Orlando GOP Debate

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

Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 7:28 am

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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It's All Politics
3:31 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Lamar Alexander: Leaving Senate Leadership Gives Room To Deal

Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 22, 2011 4:09 pm

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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It's All Politics
10:50 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Obama Signals GOP 2012 Election To Be Referendum On Rich's Taxes

President Obama gives a White House Rose Garden speech on his deficit reduction plan. Sept. 19, 2011.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 11:45 am

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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