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
12:44 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Latest Jobs Data Maintain Status Quo Of Obama-Romney Race

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:10 pm

(Revised @ 1:48 pm ET)

With only three monthly jobs reports left before Nov. 6, President Obama needs every piece of good economic news he can get to add to his argument for re-election.

Friday's employment report certainly provided some. The Labor Department reported that the economy added an unexpectedly strong 163,000 jobs in July. Forecasters had predicted that the economy would add as many as 100,000 jobs, so the report took most everyone by surprise.

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It's All Politics
5:38 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

In Ohio, Obama Seeks Middle-Class Mantle Romney's Team Would Deny Him

President Obama argued in Mansfield, Ohio, that he was the true defender of middle-class voters.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

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It's All Politics
1:39 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Obama Chooses San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro As Convention Keynoter

In what now looks like practice for the big show to come, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gives the keynote address at the Texas Democratic Convention in Houston on June 8.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 4:29 pm

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It's All Politics
7:23 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Romney's Foreign Trip Hits Right Note For Some, Potholes For Others

Mitt Romney, right, meets Monday with former Polish President Lech Walesa in Gdansk.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 2:01 pm

As Mitt Romney nears the end of his seven-day trip abroad, it's safe to call the results mixed at best.

The trip to Great Britain, Israel and Poland had several goals. It was meant to show that Romney has the gravitas and acumen to be this country's top foreign affairs policymaker; to remind U.S. voters of his success running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics; to appeal to certain voters in battleground states, especially Jewish and Catholic voters of Polish heritage, and to raise campaign cash.

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It's All Politics
1:29 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Poll: Jobs Should Be Next President's Priority; Tax Fairness? Not So Much

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:31 pm

Nearly every major poll indicates that the top issues for voters are jobs and the economy. Making the wealthy pay more in income taxes? Not so much, at least according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll.

An excerpt from Gallup:

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It's All Politics
4:46 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Obama Pre-Empts Romney's Israel Visit With Security Aid Bill Signing

President Obama is flanked Friday by congressional sponsors and officials with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., for legislation increasing U.S. security aid to Israel.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 9:47 am

It may have just been a coincidence that on the eve of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's visit to Israel, President Obama signed legislation that increases U.S. military and security aid to the Jewish state.

But the timing was nonetheless fortuitous for the president, and showed once again the benefits of incumbency in an election year.

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It's All Politics
5:37 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Romney In London: It's Not Going Swimmingly

Mitt Romney leaves London's 10 Downing Street after meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 6:27 pm

The first stop — Britain — in Mitt Romney's foreign tour certainly is starting out rockier than nearly anyone expected.

First there was the kerfuffle over remarks, attributed by a British newspaper to an anonymous campaign adviser, that Romney understood the shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" between the U.S. and Britain in a way President Obama didn't. Those comments were viewed as racist by some and were disowned by the Romney campaign.

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It's All Politics
1:53 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Romney Backer Explains Why Obama's Wrong, Despite Her Firm's Gov't Contracts

Rebecca Smith, owner of A.D. Morgan, speaks Thursday at a Tampa, Fla., event to denounce President Obama's statements about small businesses. The event was organized by the Romney campaign. At left is Lou Ramos of Value Enterprise Solutions.
Daniel Wallace Tampa Bay Times/ZUMAPRESS.com

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 3:48 pm

Rebecca Smith owns a Tampa, Fla., construction-management firm that does a lot of work overseeing the building of schools and jails, and other projects for state and local governments.

But even though much of her firm's $80 million in annual revenue comes from contracts with government agencies, she says she was "disgusted" by President Obama's thesis that government had a significant role in her business achievements.

Obama's actual words, from a July 13 speech in Virginia, were:

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It's All Politics
6:01 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Sen. Feinstein Backtracks On White House National Security Leaks

Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 6:32 pm

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared to have second thoughts Tuesday about joining the chorus of Republicans accusing the Obama White House of leaking classified national security information.

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It's All Politics
12:25 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

At VFW, Romney Seeks To Dull Obama's National Security Sheen

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars look on Monday as President Obama speaks during the group's national convention in Reno, Nev. Republican Mitt Romney was scheduled to speak to the group on Tuesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 3:23 pm

(Revised @ 3:19 pm ET)

In a result few predicted before he became commander in chief, President Obama exhibits surprising strength with voters on national security issues.

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It's All Politics
5:42 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Little Election-Year Incentive For Obama Or Romney To Join Gun Debate

President Obama at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, when he met with victims and family members of last week's shooting.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 7:33 am

As occurs after seemingly every mass killing that involves firearms, the shootings in a suburban Denver movie theater last week have renewed calls for tougher gun control laws.

Just as predictably, those calls have led to pushback by gun-rights advocates who accuse those calling for stricter legislation of trying to exploit the tragedy to restrict Americans' Second Amendment rights.

Worth noting is that neither of the two major-party candidates running for the White House has engaged in any current gun control debate.

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It's All Politics
12:30 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Movie-Theater Shootings Put Presidential Politics On Hold

President Obama turned a planned campaign speech in Fort Myers, Fla., into a brief statement about the shooting rampage. He asked the audience to join him in a moment of silence for the victims.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 6:56 pm

(Updated @ 1:11 pm ET)

As deeply as the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., shocked the national conscience, they also quickly affected the U.S. political scene, with both major party presidential campaigns ripping up their scripts for Friday, and the mayor of the nation's largest city using the issue to put the candidates on the spot on gun control.

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It's All Politics
6:45 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Web Quiz Tells You Which Presidential Candidate Best Fits Your Worldview

ISideWith.com screenshot

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:28 pm

Take one guy with an abiding interest in politics, another guy with website-building skills and throw in the shared desire to get people more engaged in the political process, and you have the ingredients for an interactive site called ISideWith.com.

The site's purpose is to show you which presidential candidate's views most align with yours by running you through a short quiz that asks your stance on various policy issues, then determines which candidate most agrees with you.

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It's All Politics
4:48 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

John McCain Tells Michele Bachmann To Lay Off Hillary Clinton Aide

Sen. John McCain defended Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, against accusations by several House GOP members that she has ties to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
C-SPAN screenshot

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 11:09 am

(Updated at 5:14 pm ET)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor Wednesday in an apparent attempt to shame Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and other House GOP lawmakers who recently questioned whether a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a fifth columnist for the Muslim Brotherhood.

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It's All Politics
11:23 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Romney's 'Crony Capitalism' Charge May Ring True For Leaders Of Both Parties

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 2:25 pm

Crony capitalism is a term very much in vogue because of Mitt Romney's accusations that President Obama has engaged in the practice, allegedly rewarding the business interests of political supporters with federal taxpayer dollars.

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It's All Politics
5:29 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Harry Reid Worries About '17 Angry Old White Men' Buying The Nation

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, shown July 10 on Capitol Hill, adds another classic bon mot to his record with his worries about "17 angry old white men" buying the country.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 6:23 pm

Add another line to the list of memorable quotes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

On Monday, the Nevada Democrat was on the Senate floor defending Democratic-backed campaign-finance legislation known as the DISCLOSE Act when he uttered the following thought (the relevant passage starts at the 8:00 mark in this C-SPAN video):

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It's All Politics
3:51 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Jobs Report And Politics: The Monthly Spin Cycle

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the monthly jobs report Friday in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 4:32 pm

Like any Oval Office incumbent seeking re-election, President Obama would prefer to have the economy exceeding expectations in terms of job creation at this point in the campaign.

But exactly four months from Election Day, the economy isn't cooperating. In fact, it's doing just the opposite, underperforming job-growth forecasts in recent months.

Given the trend, it seems unlikely the four monthly jobs reports to be issued between Friday and Election Day will change the pattern in which our politics now seem trapped:

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It's All Politics
7:00 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Michigan's GOP Governor Keeps To Middle Of The Road, Vetoes Voter ID Law

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed voter ID legislation on Tuesday.
John Flesher AP

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 7:15 pm

At first blush, it seems like a man-bites-dog story: a Republican governor vetoing voter ID legislation decried as voter suppression by Democratic critics of the bills.

But when you consider that the chief executive who wielded the veto pen Tuesday was Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, the news becomes somewhat less surprising.

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It's All Politics
3:35 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Romney Adviser Seems To Undercut GOP Health Care Tax Argument

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 11:35 am

There apparently isn't a unified Republican message on whether President Obama has introduced a big new tax through the Affordable Care Act.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide to Mitt Romney, said Monday that the Republican presidential candidate's position is that the penalty under the new law — the one for people who can afford to buy health insurance, but don't — is not a tax.

The Supreme Court last week upheld the health care law's individual mandate on the grounds that it is a permissible tax, in a 5-4 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts.

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