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
12:57 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

New Mitt Romney Ad Makes Claim Newt Gingrich Can't: One Marriage

Mitt Romney had a handy counterargument for all those who have called him a political flip flopper: his apparent steadfastness in all his personal commitments, like his 42-year marriage to his wife Anne.

Turns out, that argument can do double duty since it helps Romney draw a contrast with Newt Gingrich who is on his third marriage.

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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

In the latest reminder that he's still in the race (if apparently not in the hunt) for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a new TV ad in Iowa in which he makes a naked appeal to the state's religious conservatives who are expected to play an important role in the upcoming caucuses.

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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

Rep. Ron Paul may not be leading in any of the major presidential polls (though he's in second place in Iowa according to a recent poll.) But he arguably is setting the pace when it comes to the 2012 presidential campaign ads.

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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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It's All Politics
3:18 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Newt Gingrich's Freddie Mac Ties Could Be Poison In GOP Race

In about a week, we've gone from Newt Gingrich saying during a debate that he was paid $300,000 to dispense wisdom to Freddie Mac "as a historian" to his firm being paid nearly $2 million by the mortgage-financing giant for the former House speaker to provide "strategic advice." There's no telling what added details another week might bring.

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It's All Politics
10:31 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Wisconsin's Governor: Recall Drive Is About Unions Seeking 'Power'

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, March 7, 2011.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Many of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's citizens may be signing petitions for his recall in reaction to the battle he led earlier in the year to weaken his state's public-employee unions.

But Walker doesn't appear to be backing off one inch from his stance that he did what was right for his state.

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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

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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