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
5:42 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Romney Rekindles Conservative Doubts With Pick To Lead White House Transition

Mitt and Ann Romney sit behind Michael Leavitt and his wife Jacqueline at the February 2008 funeral of Gordon B. Hinckley, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Romney reportedly has chosen Leavitt to lead his transition team.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

With many conservatives already suspecting that he is a conservative of convenience, Mitt Romney apparently hasn't done himself any favors in their eyes with the man he chose to lead his presidential transition.

Politico broke the story Sunday that Romney has chosen Michael Leavitt to oversee the creation of an executive branch in waiting.

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It's All Politics
1:30 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

May Jobless Report Keeps Obama On Defensive, Aids Romney's Offense

Military veterans Kris Hummel (l) and Shane Foley, speak with a TSA representative at a May 15, 2012 job fair in Utica, NY.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 3:04 pm

How to convince voters that while the economy isn't roaring, the situation is still improving?

That's President Obama's challenge, made more difficult with every passing month where the jobs report disappoints, as on Friday. The latest Labor Department report informed us that only 69,000 jobs were created in May, less than half what analysts had forecast. Meanwhile, the jobless rate ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent.

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It's All Politics
6:48 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

John Edwards' Might've Walked But Trial Still A Warning For Politicians

Former Democratic U.S. Sen. John Edwards (center) and his daughter Cate Edwards leave the federal court Thursday.
Sara D. Davis Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 6:48 pm

With a not guilty verdict on one count and the jury deadlocked on five others, it appears John Edwards' federal trial on campaign-finance charges ended with a whimper, certainly from the Justice Department's point of view.

At first blush, it can be argued that how the trial of the former U.S. senator from North Carolina ended may do little to deter politicians. They'll still be able to go forward and rake in money from supporters and, with some sleight of hand, spend that cash on practically anything.

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It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Bloomberg Becomes Nanny-State Epitome For Some, Giving Obama A Breather

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large sugary drinks was so hard to swallow it caused some to call him a fascist, a word more often hurled at President Obama.
EMMANUEL DUNAND AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 4:29 pm

If nothing else, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has apparently done President Obama a favor.

His Honor's proposed ban on the sale of supersized sugary fountain drinks in his city made the mayor, at least for some, the epitome of Big Government excess, a place many critics, particularly conservatives, typically reserve for the Obama.

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

McCotter Joins Sorry, Brief List Of Incumbents Who Fell Short Of Ballot

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) had the misfortune of being from a state that still requires signatures to get on the ballot.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 4:58 pm

In the annals of incumbents failing to get on the ballot, Rep. Thad McCotter's epic fail has some company. Maybe not lots of it since incumbents tend to know, if nothing else, how to work the levers in their favor.

But there have been other incumbents derailed by the requirement to obtain voter signatures to get on ballots even if you sometimes have to go back quite a ways to find them. If it's a wing in the political hall of shame for incumbents, it would be a small room compared, say, to the much larger one for convicted politicos.

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It's All Politics
1:25 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Inhale To The Chief: More Details Of Obama's Pot-Smoking Youth Revealed

A Punahou School yearbook class photo from 1976 that includes the 9th grader who would grow up to become President Obama, but not before he smoked a lot of pot first.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 4:37 pm

The first sneak peak a few weeks back inside journalist David Maraniss' highly anticipated biography of President Obama served up glimpses of the president as a young man in romantic relationships, with information gleaned from early girlfriends.

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It's All Politics
1:36 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Researchers Find Link Between Isolated State Capitals, Corruption

Despite the misspelling and grammar error, the tee-shirt message is clear on a protester at the Illinois capitol on May 16, 2012. It cites two former governors now in federal prison for corruption.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 1:56 pm

Do state capitals relatively distant from the major population centers have more corruption than those in more densely populated areas?

Researchers report that they have found an intriguing correlation between political corruption in state capitals and population density.

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It's All Politics
11:30 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Reagan Blood Update: It's No Longer For Sale

The Reagans at the George Washington University Medical Center today, April 3, 1981.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 11:36 am

If you had hoped to bid on the medical-lab vial that purportedly contains the dried remains of a blood sample from President Ronald Reagan taken on the day he was nearly assassinated in March 1981, you're out of luck.

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It's All Politics
1:33 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

At Auction, Reagan's Blood Is Pricey But A Bargain Versus Fidel-Signed Flag

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 3:30 pm

It's safe to say that when it comes to recent presidents, Ronald Reagan is the most venerated, especially among Republicans but not exclusively so. Some even accuse conservatives of beatifying the 40th president as though he were on the road to sainthood.

So it's not surprising there would be a Reagan relic out there, specifically a medical-lab vial purportedly containing the dried remains of a blood sample taken from the president on the day he was nearly assassinated in March 1981.

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It's All Politics
3:24 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Under Obama, U.S. Gov't Spends At Lowest Rate In Decades, Says Journalist

President Obama is getting a bum rap on the pace of federal spending, a journalist writes.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 11:39 am

(Updated on 5/23/12 @ 11:55 am. See end of post for Romney campaign response.)

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It's All Politics
12:49 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

'President Romney's' First Day In Office: All About Reversing Obama Per Ad

Romney "Day One" ad

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 1:23 pm

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It's All Politics
6:20 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

White House Sandwiches Followed By Snark, Disappointment, Warnings

President Obama's limo in what was, in part, the world's most impressive lunch run, Washington, May 16, 2012.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:44 pm

President Obama and congressional leaders lunched at the White House Wednesday on sandwiches the leader of the free world purchased during a visit to a Washington, D.C., eatery where he met earlier in the morning with a group of small-business people.

Descriptions of the White House lunch meeting from those on the opposing red and blue teams aware of the details of the discussion made it sound like yet another meeting featuring the nation's top policymakers that you could have accurately described beforehand.

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It's All Politics
3:19 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Romney And Obama: A Tale Of Two Commencement Speeches

President Obama delivers the commencement address Monday at Barnard College in New York.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 7:06 pm

As close as the general election is expected to be, virtually everything the presidential candidates do from here until November is about maximizing the turnout of voters in their respective bases without repelling independents or moderates.

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It's All Politics
6:03 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Romney, Boehner Message: It's Still The Economy (Not Gay Marriage), Stupid

House Speaker John Boehner speaks Thursday at his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill. Boehner spoke on a number of topics but would not comment on gay marriage when asked.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 6:51 pm

Let others get distracted by the news the day before that President Obama now personally supports gay marriage. Mitt Romney and Speaker John Boehner said Thursday they intended to stay on message and keep hitting the president in what they view as his Achilles heel — the economy.

Being that it's also the issue voters have in repeated polls said is most important to them, it was hard to argue with their decision.

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It's All Politics
1:46 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Reaction To Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Suppport: From Sublime To Silly

Reaction to President Obama's bombshell that he now supports gay marriage ran the gamut from profound to lighthearted.
The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 10:06 am

(This post has been revised.)

If anything could predictably induce torrents of Internet reaction, it would be a U.S. president making the surprise disclosure that he supports same-sex marriage. And so it has been following President Obama's Wednesday ABC News interview in which he said he personally backs gay marriage.

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It's All Politics
5:32 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Obama Gambles On Gay Marriage

President Obama was on a TV monitor at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a key historic site of the gay-rights movement.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:35 pm

The 2012 presidential election was supposed to be about the economy, and even with President Obama's historic decision to make it known Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage, that is still likely to be true.

But the president's decision to announce in an ABC News interview that he personally backs gay marriage could mean that at least one social issue may take a more prominent role in the election-year spotlight.

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It's All Politics
3:10 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Romney Praises Bill Clinton As New Democrat, Bashes Obama As Old One

Mitt Romney praised Bill Clinton as an enlightened centrist Democrat for reforming welfare and other polices and attacked President Obama as a big-government liberal.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 3:25 pm

As if further proof were needed that the Republican primaries are essentially dead and buried, here's another piece of firm evidence: Mitt Romney praised former President Bill Clinton in a speech in Michigan Tuesday, and not once but twice.

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It's All Politics
7:03 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Romney Town Hall Shows Risks Of Handing Voters The Mic

Mitt Romney poses with a group of supporters at a Euclid, OH town hall-style meeting where some voters didn't exactly help him keep to his themes.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 7:07 pm

In an age when presidential campaigns are typically heavily scripted, town-hall style meetings are anything but.

The upside is that you get the informality of the candidate interacting with regular voters as he or she fields their questions and seems accessible. The downside is you never know what a voter handed the microphone will say.

Mitt Romney, who appears well on his way to becoming the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, got a taste of that risk at a Monday event at a Euclid, OH manufacturing company.

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It's All Politics
1:17 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Some U.S. Conservatives See Obama In France's Hollande

President-elect Francois Hollande waves from a Socialist Party headquarters balcony in Paris Monday May 7, 2012.
Michel Spingler AP

The election of socialist Francois Hollande as France's new president has leached into the U.S. election as some conservatives view it as giving them an opening to attack President Obama who, along with his agenda, has been labeled socialistic by many on the right.

U.S. Senate candidate from Florida, George Lemieux, for instance, took the opportunity of Hollande's win to tweet a warning:

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