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
8:45 am
Mon October 3, 2011

Rick Perry Caught Between Racist Rock And Toxic Mortgages

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to Hampton, NH audience, Oct. 1, 2011.

Kayana Szymczak Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 4:40 pm

If there's been a worse week and a half for a presidential candidate, it's hard to remember when.

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It's All Politics
11:53 am
Fri September 30, 2011

Florida's Move Means Primaries, Like Holiday Season, Start Earlier

The decision by Florida's Republican officials to move the state's presidential primary into January from March will have a range of effects, some foreseeable, some not.

By advancing its primary date to Jan. 31, Florida makes it virtually certain the four traditional early states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — will now move their caucuses and primaries to earlier in January to maintain their status as the earliest contests.

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It's All Politics
11:04 am
Thu September 29, 2011

Romney Withstands Perry Surge To Retake GOP Lead In National Poll

Mitt Romney may be back on track to the Republican presidential nomination.

It's still early and nothing is certain, of course. But the signs are that Romney has resumed what seemed, until a few weeks ago, his steady march towards becoming his party's standard bearer against President Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

If that Obama-Romney race should happen, by the way, Harvard Law School couldn't lose since it would be the first time two of its graduates faced each other as major-party nominees for the White House.

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It's All Politics
11:30 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Heckler Gives Obama Chance To Affirm His Christian Faith

There are a few things to say about about the incident in which President Obama was heckled by an apparent militant Christian at Monday night's campaign fundraiser at Los Angeles' House of Blues in Los Angeles. (My colleague Mark Memmott reports on the incident over at The Two-Way blog.)

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It's All Politics
9:44 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Despite Senate Spending Deal, Nation Stuck In Stormy Political Pattern

Many Americans view Congress as a disaster, albeit one whose shifting tectonic plates are caused by humans not geology.

So it was probably fitting that FEMA, whose mission is partly to mitigate calamities stepped in to do just that Monday and rescue the nation's lawmakers from the dire circumstances the policymakers had created.

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It's All Politics
12:59 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Flashback: Herman Cain's 1994 Bill Clinton Debate On Health Care

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 10:34 am

Herman Cain, who won the Florida Republican presidential straw poll over the weekend, is no newbie when it comes to showing up career politicians. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was just the latest one to be Hermanized by the former Godfather's pizza company executive.

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It's All Politics
10:55 am
Mon September 26, 2011

Obama' 'Stop Complaining' Order To Black Caucus Causes Stir

President Obama addresses a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner, Sept. 24, 2011.
NICHOLAS KAMM AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 1:25 pm

President Obama may have fired up some of the most loyal voters in his political base, African Americans, through a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus, though not in the way he intended.

After running down a list of his administration's accomplishments on behalf of middle and lower income Americans and calling for passage of his jobs bill, Obama concluded his speech by saying:

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It's All Politics
12:04 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

House, Senate Stalemate Over Spending Bill Days Before Potential Shutdown

Speaker John Boehner didn't provide much reason Friday to hope that efforts to avert a federal government shutdown next week wouldn't go to the 11th hour like all congressional spending negotiations since last November's election.

Asked at a brief availability with journalists in the House Press Gallery if he had talked with Sen. Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who sets the Senate's agenda, Boehner said:

"I had a conversation with the Senate majority leader before I came down. There wasn't much progress made."

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It's All Politics
1:32 am
Fri September 23, 2011

Romney Ensures Perry Has Long, Hard Night At Orlando GOP Debate

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, makes a point as Texas Gov. Rick Perry listens, during a debate in Orlando, Fla.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 8:28 am

Accepting the premise that the race for the Republican presidential nomination has come down to a two-man contest between the frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the question is which of those two candidates helped himself the most in Thursday evening's debate in Orlando, Fla.?

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It's All Politics
4:31 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Lamar Alexander: Leaving Senate Leadership Gives Room To Deal

Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 22, 2011 5:09 pm

When Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, announced earlier this week that he was stepping down from the number three position in the Senate GOP leadership, his move got the rumor mill going.

Was it because the 71-year old senior senator from the Volunteer State sensed that he wasn't perceived as hardline enough in the Tea Party-era to advance to the the number two position?

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It's All Politics
11:50 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Obama Signals GOP 2012 Election To Be Referendum On Rich's Taxes

President Obama gives a White House Rose Garden speech on his deficit reduction plan. Sept. 19, 2011.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 12:45 pm

President Obama's re-election may all come down to whether voters mainly view the 2012 race seen as a referendum on his presidency or a choice between competing Democratic and Republican prescriptions for how to best address the nation's economic and fiscal challenges.

If it's a referendum, it could well be curtains for his hopes of a second term because the economy is clearly making too many voters unhappy and scared.

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It's All Politics
5:04 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Boehner Lobs Supply Side Shell In Fiscal Trench War With Obama

The latest rhetorical artillery shell to be launched in the trench warfare between Washington Keynesians and supply-siders landed Thursday in the form of House Speaker John Boehner's speech to the Economic Club of Washington.

Something of a rebuttal to President Obama announcement of his jobs plan last week, a John Maynard Keynes-inspired stimulus in everything but name, Boehner didn't have nearly as catchy a hook as the president's "pass this bill."

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It's All Politics
12:23 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

White House's Haste On Solar Firm Loan Creates Political Headaches

While there are still many open questions, some things are more certain in the sorry tale of Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar-cell manufacturer President Obama once praised as a model for the nation's renewable energy future.

One, U.S. taxpayers will take a loss on their $535 million federal loan guarantee that was part of the stimulus program.

Two, 1,100 workers have been laid off.

Three, the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week raided Solyndra's offices.

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It's All Politics
7:51 am
Wed September 14, 2011

GOP's Bob Turner Wins Weiner's House Seat In N.Y. Upset

Republicans had reasons to cheer and Democrats to despair Wednesday with the upset special election victory in New York City of a Republican retired businessman who will complete the congressional term of Anthony Weiner, the Democrat who exited the U.S. House because of a sexting scandal.

Bob Turner, a 70-year old former cable television executive, beat David Weprin, a 55-year old, state assemblyman, in a district which had, until Tuesday, been reliably Democratic for nearly 100 years.

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It's All Politics
11:34 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Rick Perry Takes Tea Party Debate Licking, Keeps Ticking; Race Seems Stable

Stop Rick Perry.

That was the goal of the other Republican presidential candidates who came to the CNN/Tea Party Express debate Monday evening, to make GOP voters see the Texas governor and front-runner for their party's presidential nomination as less of a shiny new object and more as damaged goods.

By the end of the two-hour debate in Tampa, Fla., his rivals may not have knocked him out of the lead but they gave any Republican voters with doubts about Perry plenty more to fuel their concerns.

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It's All Politics
3:05 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Tea Party White House Debate Question: Can Romney, Bachmann Rebound?

A worker cleans the stage for Monday evening's Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express, Sept. 12, 2011.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Hard on the heels of last week's Republican presidential candidate in which Texas Gov. Rick Perry made his first appearance, comes another gathering, this one hosted by the Tea Party Express and carried by CNN Monday night at 8 pm ET.

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It's All Politics
11:43 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Obama, Nation In Uncharted Economic Territory, Jobs Plan Or Not

President Obama arrives in Richmond, Va to talk jobs, Sept. 9, 2011.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Fri September 9, 2011 2:23 pm

One of the most unsettling truths facing President Obama and the nation is that there really was little precedent in modern history for the financial crisis that hit the globe in 2007 and continues.

As economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff note in "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," their examination of economic crises going back eight centuries:

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