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
2:07 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Sen. Landrieu's First GOP Rival Sets In Motion Key 2014 Contest

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. (right), poses with his family and House Speaker John Boehner at the start of the new Congress, on Jan. 3. On Wednesday, Cassidy announced that he would challenge Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 2:44 pm

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, considered among the most vulnerable of the Senate's red-state Democrats facing 2014 re-election, now has at least one potential Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, whose congressional district includes Baton Rouge.

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It's All Politics
2:38 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Reality Often Rivals Fiction In Political Corruption Scandals

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara outlines corruption charges against several New York politicians on Tuesday.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 3:22 pm

The federal criminal complaint against New York politicians arrested after an FBI sting was a reminder of how often real-life political scandals can read like the imaginings of Hollywood screenwriters.

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It's All Politics
1:29 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Immigration Overhaul Inches Forward, But Big Hurdles Remain

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says talk of a bipartisan agreement among eight key senators working on immigration law is "premature."
Susan Walsh AP

It's still far too early to know whether Congress will actually be able to achieve a comprehensive overhaul to the nation's immigration laws. All that's certain at this stage is that lawmakers on both sides of the partisan divide, and in both chambers, continue to act as though they think they can.

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It's All Politics
7:12 am
Sat March 23, 2013

A Hint Of Bipartisanship On This Obamacare Tax?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, was joined by Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in taking steps to try to stop an Obamacare medical device tax.
Jim Mone AP

Anyone looking for a glimmer of bipartisanship in Washington might want to pay attention to the medical device tax that is part of Obamacare. It took a notable, if largely symbolic, hit this week from the left and the right.

The 2.3-percent excise tax on devices ranging from MRI machines to pacemakers to stethoscopes was meant to raise $20 billion over 10 years to help pay for extending health care coverage to the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act.

But so far it has raised more ire than revenue.

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It's All Politics
2:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Administration Still Fighting For Assault Weapons Ban, Biden Says

Vice President Biden at a December 2012 meeting of police chiefs on gun control, held in Washington, D.C.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 9:00 am

Vice President Joe Biden told All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block in an interview Wednesday that he and the Obama administration plan to continue to fight for a ban on assault weapons to be included in a larger bill in Congress.

That despite signs that such a ban doesn't have enough support, even from members of Biden's own party, to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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It's All Politics
1:09 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pew Poll: For Many Who've Changed Same-Sex Marriage Views, It's Personal

Frank Capley (left) and Joe Alfano protest the San Francisco county clerk's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Feb. 14.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio conservative Republican who recently said he now supports same-sex marriage because he has a gay son, evidently has plenty of company.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press suggests that many Americans have changed their minds — going from opposing to supporting same-sex marriage — because they personally know someone who is gay.

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It's All Politics
2:23 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Scholar Outlines The Long, Rocky Road Of GOP Outreach Efforts

Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., speaks on Oct. 22, 1977, in Atlanta. A political scientist says the GOP has suffered some missteps in its outreach efforts to certain voters since at least the time of Dole.
AP

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 3:04 pm

One of the most interesting observations we've seen regarding the Republican National Committee's latest effort to win the hearts and minds of minorities, women and young voters was to be found on a blog that promotes a

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It's All Politics
10:53 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Republicans' Secret To Success? Sound And Act More Like Democrats

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 4:17 pm

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

If Republicans hope to recapture the White House in the foreseeable future, they basically need to sound and campaign more like Democrats.

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It's All Politics
3:44 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Romney, Yesterday's Man At CPAC, Gets A Winner's Reception

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney leaves the stage after speaking Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland's National Harbor.
Alex Wong Getty Images

It was one of the most anticipated moments at this year's large gathering of conservative activists.

What would Mitt Romney say in his first major speech since he lost the presidential election and, even more importantly, how would the crowd treat him?

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It's All Politics
3:26 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Marco Rubio, Rand Paul Bring Charisma, Red Meat To Receptive CPAC

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., addresses the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday in Maryland's National Harbor outside Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 3:55 pm

The next Republican presidential primary is so far off that some of those attending the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday could be spotted wearing stickers for two potential candidates: Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

It's just too early to choose.

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It's All Politics
6:28 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Will CPAC Tell Us Which Way The GOP Is Headed?

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul filibusters John Brennan's nomination as CIA director last week. Paul is scheduled to speak Thursday at CPAC.
AP

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 10:36 am

Which way the Republican Party?

In the hope of getting answers to that and other questions, many activists, party big wigs and political journalists have descended on a hotel in a Washington suburb to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, which started Thursday.

This annual CPAC gathering is the first since President Obama thwarted Republican efforts to retake the White House, a defeat of Mitt Romney that many in the GOP didn't see coming.

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It's All Politics
12:10 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Ryan's Budget: The First Of The DOA Proposals

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (second from right), arrives with other GOP members of the House Budget Committee he chairs, for a news conference, March 12, 2013.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Like the famous cherry blossoms forecast to bloom in a few weeks, this time of year is also marked by the arrival of competing, partisan federal budget proposals that political foes immediately declare dead-on-arrival, though not so dead that they can't be used as campaign fodder.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) got the process underway Tuesday by introducing the House Republican budget for the coming fiscal year, DOA because it has no chance of getting through the Democratic Senate or to be signed by President Obama.

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It's All Politics
1:41 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Ben Carson Says No Apology Needed After Controversial Speech

Dr. Ben Carson, right, signs a book for Delegate William Frank in Annapolis, Md., on Friday.
Brian Witte AP

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 10:35 am

Anyone still looking for Dr. Ben Carson to apologize for criticizing President Obama's policies to his face at the recent National Prayer Breakfast, won't hear one in his conversation with host Michel Martin's of NPR's Tell Me More.

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It's All Politics
12:26 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

When A Good Jobs Report Is Bad For Political Spin

Trader Warren Meyers works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. Stocks opened higher after the government reported a burst of hiring last month that sent the unemployment rate to a four-year low. But both the White House and congressional Republicans reacted to the news in less than celebratory fashion.
Richard Drew AP

The February jobs report was just the latest proof that the economy doesn't really care how much it confounds the messaging strategies of Washington's political class.

News that the economy created 236,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, its lowest level in more than four years, caught nearly everyone by surprise after economists forecast perhaps 171,000 new jobs.

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It's All Politics
3:14 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Watchdogs Not Celebrating Obama Group's Switch On Big Donors

Jim Messina (left), the head of Organizing for Action and a former top Obama campaign and White House aide, watches President Obama make a statement in the White House Cabinet Room in 2010.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 3:49 pm

Caught between the gritty political realities of needing cash and being linked to a political leader who has repeatedly denounced money's influence in Washington while raising record sums, former campaign aides to President Obama appeared to side with the money.

That had opened officials now heading Organizing for Action — which was formed from the Obama for America campaign committee to promote the president's second-term agenda — to charges of hypocrisy.

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It's All Politics
1:47 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Obama's Outreach To GOP: More Optics Than Opportunity?

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire at the Capitol last month. The senators are among a group invited to dine Wednesday with President Obama.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 2:21 pm

President Obama recently acknowledged the obvious: He doesn't have the supernatural powers necessary to do a mind meld, Jedi or otherwise, with Republican congressional leaders that would lead to pacts on fiscal policy or anything else for that matter.

But if he doesn't have the power to force meetings of the minds with his Republican opponents, he can at least still get meetings with them.

Popping up on the president's schedule all of a sudden was a Wednesday night dinner at a Washington, D.C., hotel with a group of GOP senators.

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It's All Politics
2:28 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Scientists Are The New Kings (Or At Least Secretaries) At Energy Department

Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist Ernest Moniz is introduced by President Obama as the nominee to run the Energy Department, Monday at the White House.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 3:18 pm

With President Obama nominating Ernest Moniz to be the nation's next energy secretary, he continued a relatively recent trend of putting scientists atop a part of the federal bureaucracy once overseen by political types.

If confirmed by the Senate, Moniz, an MIT physicist, will follow Nobel laureate Steven Chu, a University of California physicist who served as Obama's first-term energy secretary.

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It's All Politics
2:42 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Some Political Lessons From The Violence Against Women Act Vote

Supporters of the Violence Against Women Act rally in front of the U.S. Capitol last June. On Thursday, the House passed a reauthorization measure.
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:22 pm

The fight over reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act is now behind us. But like much of what happens in Washington, the process wasn't pretty.

In the debate leading up to Thursday's House vote, you had Democrats accusing Republicans of continuing a "war on women," and Republicans accusing Democrats of crass political pandering.

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It's All Politics
1:55 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

For Bloomberg, Guns (Like Big Sodas) Are A Health Issue

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media outside the White House after meeting with Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday to discuss the administration's proposals to reduce gun violence.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 2:17 pm

The victory of a pro-gun-control candidate in the Illinois Democratic primary race to replace Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was also a political win for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose superPAC backed the winner over a candidate it linked to the NRA.

But Robin Kelly's victory Tuesday was, for Bloomberg, more than just another achievement on the gun control front. It was one more win in Bloomberg's unique assault on what he views as the public health problems of our time.

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It's All Politics
11:08 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Obama's Sequester Gamble: What If Nobody Notices?

President Obama speaks about the sequester on Feb. 19.
Charles Dharapak AP

President Obama has for weeks warned congressional Republicans and the American public of the dangers facing the nation from the sequester budget cuts.

Failing to reach a deal between the White House and Congress by Friday could lead to some young children being dropped from Head Start, the FBI furloughing agents and fewer food inspectors, according to the president.

If the cuts unleash these and other harms, like longer lines at airports, Congress and voters won't be able to say they weren't warned.

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