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
1:43 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Gallup: Rick Perry Opens 12-Point Lead Over Mitt Romney

There really is a new sheriff in town or, more precisely, frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and he's Texas Gov. Rick Perry who has opened a 29 percent to 17 percent lead over Mitt Romney with Republican voters, according to a new Gallup poll.

Another interesting result: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was in third place with 13 percent, clearly placing him in the vaunted top tier. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was in fourth place at 10 percent.

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It's All Politics
1:10 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Romney To Skip DeMint's S. Carolina Labor Day Candidates' Forum

Mitt Romney signaled Wednesday that he doesn't see South Carolina as key to the presidential nomination. His campaign said he won't attend Sen. Jim DeMint's South Carolina Labor Day forum for presidential candidates.

A Romney spokesman cited scheduling conflicts. But by not attending the South Carolina event, Romney fuels speculation that his strategy may be to invest significantly less of himself in the Palmetto State than he did in 2008.

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It's All Politics
10:27 am
Wed August 24, 2011

Most U.S. House Members Not Doing Town Hall Meetings

A Royal Caribbean recruiter (c) hands out an application at a Congressional Black Caucus jobs fair in Miami, Aug. 23, 2011.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:57 am

If your member of Congress is holding town-hall meetings during their summer recess to discuss the great issues of the day with you and their other constituents, he or she is in the minority.

The non-partisan group No Labels, created as a refuge for voters favoring pragmatic, less ideological solutions to the nation's problems, surveyed U.S. House members and found that 60 percent weren't holding town hall meetings this summer.

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It's All Politics
9:26 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Mitt Romney Gets Unintentional Help From Rest Of GOP Field

All indications are that Mitt Romney has a real primary fight on his hands. Long suspected as being a Republican in Name Only by many of his party's hard-core conservatives, he's faced with two rivals for the GOP presidential nomination — Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry — with strong appeal to that key segment of the party.

But Romney has some critical advantages. Not the least of them is he's been a presidential candidate before, running against a politician — Sen. John McCain — who was an experienced national campaigner himself.

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It's All Politics
1:45 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Obama Prepares Ground For Campaign Against 'Do-Nothing Congress'

President Obama works rope line in Atkinson, Ill., Aug. 17, 2011.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:39 am

It's safe to say President Obama probably isn't going to get much of anything that can be seen as an initiative of his administration through Congress in the next 15 months.

Obama and congressional Republicans have two entirely different prescriptions for how to create jobs, for instance. Obama emphasizes investments in infrastructure that would employ construction workers, for instance.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans argue that their agenda of tax cuts and fewer regulations would cure a too-high jobless rate.

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It's All Politics
2:48 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Ron Paul Wears Invisibility Cloak In News Media's Eyes

Busted. That's what we in the news media are in the matter of the presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Famous and not so famous critics have pointed out in the past day that journalists for the most part have ignored Paul even when he succeeds at a level other Republican presidential candidates haven't.

As far as many political reporters have been concerned, the congressman might as well be wearing one of those Harry Potter invisibility cloaks. He's there but we apparently can't see him.

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It's All Politics
11:40 am
Tue August 16, 2011

Rick Perry Stirs Firestorm By Accusing Fed Chair Bernanke Of Near Treason

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Aug. 15, 2011.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 8:56 am

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It's All Politics
4:40 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Bus-Touring Obama Goes After GOP Presidential Hopefuls

President Obama's Midwest bus trip is part listening tour to show that he's concerned about the problems of actual Americans, part rolling bully pulpit that gives him a chance to make the case for compromise (and to blame congressional Republicans for not doing enough on that score.)

But it also was a chance to try and score a few points on the would-be Republican nominees.

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It's All Politics
7:59 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Tim Pawlenty Exits 2012 Presidential Race After Poor Iowa Showing

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the 2012 presidential race on Sunday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 9:59 am

Tim Pawlenty made headlines Sunday but not the sort he had hoped to. He announced on ABC News' This Week that he has dropped out of the hunt for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination after coming in a disappointing third in Iowa's Ames Straw Poll.

His campaign, he said:

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It's All Politics
11:28 pm
Thu August 11, 2011

Iowa Debate Leaves Romney Unscathed As Bachmann, Pawlenty Rumble

The front-runner for a major party's presidential nomination is always happiest when his intraparty rivals turn their attacks on each other instead of him.

So by that measure, Mitt Romney had to be very pleased indeed because he was left largely unmolested by the seven other Republican candidates contending for the party's presidential nomination at the debate at Iowa State University Thursday evening.

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It's All Politics
4:00 pm
Thu August 11, 2011

Iowa GOP Debate: What To Expect

Based on everything we've seen so far in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, what should we expect from the candidates at Thursday's debate at Iowa State University in Ames?

In the two-hour Fox News/Iowa GOP debate to start at 9 pm ET, Mitt Romney, the frontrunner, will likely stick tightly to his message, which is that President Obama has failed to lead, and his approach, which is to play it safe.

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It's All Politics
11:31 am
Thu August 11, 2011

Pelosi Chooses Clyburn, Van Hollen, Becerra For Deficits Super Panel

Three lawmakers who are typically forceful advocates for a progressive agenda were picked by Rep. Nancy Pelosi to fill out the supercommittee that will propose more than $1 trillion in federal spending cuts meant to reduce federal deficits.

Pelosi, the House minority leader, chose representatives Jim Clyburn of S. Carolina, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Xavier Becerra of California to represent House Democrats on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

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It's All Politics
7:04 am
Wed August 10, 2011

Wisconsin Republicans Repel Democrats, Retain State Senate Control

Wisconsin state capitol, March 2011.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

It was certainly closer than Wisconsin's Republicans would have preferred, but in the end they successfully repelled Democrats who sought to wrest away control of the state Senate and break GOP dominance over the Badger State's government.

Democrats fell one Senate seat short of the three they needed to take over that chamber in the state's largest recall election ever in which six seats were contested.

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It's All Politics
11:19 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Obama, Democrats 'Pivot' To Jobs But May Be Hamstrung

What Washington was worried about and what many Americans have been haunted by has seemed out of synch in recent weeks.

The fiery Washington debate was about the debt-ceiling, while the concerns of millions of Americans was about jobs, either finding or keeping one.

For Washington Democrats, the debt ceiling debate was a distraction from the jobs message they view as key to their re-election efforts.

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It's All Politics
3:51 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

Harry Reid: GOP Must OK Tax Increases Or Ax Falls On Defense

Democrats may have yielded on their demand for tax increases to Republicans to achieve the the debt-ceiling deal President Obama signed into law Tuesday.

But Sen. Harry Reid had a warning for congressional Republicans when he talked Tuesday with Michele Norris, co-host of All Things Considered. Later this year when Congress has to decide on additional ways to cut federal deficits, Democrats intend to stand firm on the need for more tax revenues, the Senate minority leader said.

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It's All Politics
12:16 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

Now History, Debt-Ceiling Fight Left Much Wreckage In Its Wake

President Obama walks back to the Oval Office after speaking about the Senate's passage of debt-ceiling legislation, at the White House on Tuesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue August 2, 2011 2:13 pm

With the Senate's passage of the debt-ceiling legislation and President Obama having signed it Tuesday afternoon, the nation no longer needs to worry about defaultmageddon, at least not until early 2013 when the U.S. Treasury once again runs out of the room to borrow again.

But even though there wasn't a default, the fight left plenty of wreckage laying about.

Among the casualties was Obama. Yes, he seemed to have narrowly averted becoming the first president to have the nation default during his term.

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