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.

Pages

It's All Politics
6:08 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

As Mitt Romney Woos Latinos, Obama's Team Derides A 'Makeover'

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made his pitch for Latino votes at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce convention in Los Angeles on Monday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Mitt Romney made yet another attempt Monday to narrow President Obama's substantial polling lead over him with Latino voters.

The Republican presidential nominee spoke at the Los Angeles convention of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where he was respectfully received.

Read more
It's All Politics
11:48 am
Wed September 12, 2012

U.S. Embassy Attacks In North Africa Reverberate On White House Campaign

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as President Obama hugs a State Department employee Wednesday. Obama met with State Department workers after the killing of four Americans in Libya.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 8:45 pm

Updated and revised at 4:26 pm ET:

The death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans at the hands of extremists there became the latest fodder in the 2012 presidential race early Wednesday.

Republican Mitt Romney used the incident to continue his campaign's attacks on President Obama's approach to foreign policy.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:59 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Chicago Teachers' Strike Forces Obama To Steer Carefully Between Two Allies

Striking Chicago public school teachers have a message for Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday.
Robert Ray AP

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 5:19 pm

Getting caught in a fight between two important allies is not where a president locked in a tight re-election race would willingly choose to be.

But that's where President Obama is today as he attempts for now to stay above the fray pitting the striking Chicago teachers against Mayor Rahm Emanuel who, in an earlier incarnation, was Obama's White House chief of staff.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:30 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Republicans Gear Up To Thwart An Obama North Carolina Two-Peat

Romney-Ryan campaign volunteers Will Moore and Mindy Moorman in the Greensboro, N.C., office.
Frank James NPR

Blindsided is what North Carolina Republicans felt four years ago when President Obama won the state, though by the slightest of margins — a mere 14,177 votes out of 4.3 million cast.

Republicans admit they had taken as a given a 2008 North Carolina victory by Sen. John McCain. And who could blame them? No Democratic presidential candidate had won the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

But as McCain learned to his grief, history isn't always destiny. Obama's campaign had an effective strategy to win the state, and did.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:07 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Veteran N.C. Political Strategists See Obama Path To Winning Tar Heel State

President Obama walks onto the stage before speaking at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill on April 24.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 9:20 am

If you want to understand how the White House race will play out in North Carolina as we enter the convention phase, talking to Carter Wrenn, a Republican, and Gary Pearce, a Democrat, is a good start.

The two veteran political strategists have, over decades, been involved in many a Tar Heel campaign.

One of Wrenn's best known clients was Jesse Helms, the late North Carolina senator renowned for both his surliness and race baiting.

Read more
It's All Politics
2:35 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Todd Akin Fallout Spreads From Missouri To White House Race

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and his wife Lulli, talk with reporters last Thursday at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo. On Monday, Akin was resisting GOP calls to resign from his Senate race.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 8:28 pm

After Republican Rep. Todd Akin's inflammatory comments over the weekend in which he blithely minimized rape-induced pregnancies, there are at least two inescapable questions:

1) What impact will his remark have on his U.S. Senate race in Missouri against Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill?

2) And how much will the shockwaves buffet the presidential contest or other races elsewhere?

Read more
It's All Politics
1:05 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Obama Camp's DOA Tax Offer To Romney Keeps Issue Alive

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 1:26 pm

The Friday offer from President Obama's campaign to Mitt Romney — that if the GOP presidential candidate releases his tax returns for the past five years, it won't attack him for not releasing more — was immediately rejected by the Romney campaign.

But the give-and-take keeps Romney on the defensive, and promises to keep the issue of Romney's taxes going for weeks to come.

Read more
It's All Politics
9:23 am
Tue August 14, 2012

N.J. Gov. Christie To Keynote Romney's Convention

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Des Moines, Iowa, on Dec. 30, 2011.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 10:09 am

The man some Republicans once hoped would be their party's 2012 presidential nominee, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will instead deliver the keynote speech at the national convention that will make Mitt Romney the GOP's official standard-bearer.

Christie has won plaudits from Republicans for an everyman style, for taking on the New Jersey teachers unions, and for generally not suffering lightly those he considers fools — whether they're voters, members of the media or even some members of his own party.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:08 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

With Four Candidates Now Campaigning, 'Choice' Is The Theme

Rep. Paul Ryan at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Monday.
Conrad Schmidt AP

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 6:38 pm

With Rep. Paul Ryan officially in the mix as Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, the 2012 race for the White House was fully engaged Monday, as all four members of the two major-party presidential tickets campaigned in swing states.

Both President Obama and Ryan were in Iowa, while Romney, the all-but-official Republican nominee, campaigned in Florida. Meanwhile, Vice President Biden was in North Carolina, hitting a state the Republican ticket visited over the weekend.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:23 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Historically Cautious Romney Takes 'Shot Down The Field' In Ryan

Mitt Romney introduces Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate Saturday in Norfolk, Va.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:03 pm

Some of those who know Mitt Romney best or have studied his political and business careers say the Republican presidential candidate tends toward caution and deep analysis in making decisions.

That helps explain why his choice of Rep. Paul Ryan surprised more than a few: Among the candidates reportedly on Romney's short list, Ryan was widely perceived as one of the less-safe choices.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:10 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

In New Ads Focused On Character, Obama And Romney Get Personal

Romney campaign ad

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 5:24 pm

The economy and jobs may be what voters say they're most concerned about.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:19 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Obama Targets Romney On Tax Credit For Wind Energy Producers

President Obama at a Newton, Iowa, wind-turbine blade maker in May.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 5:12 pm

How many votes can President Obama gain or Mitt Romney lose because of the Republican's opposition to renewing federal tax credits to wind energy producers? The answer, with apologies to Bob Dylan, is blowin' in the wind.

Obama hopes to influence the answer by relentlessly pounding the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee's opposition to the renewal.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:40 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Poll Shows Voters Split On Presidential Candidates' Tax Returns

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 5:10 pm

About half of those surveyed in a new poll of voters in three swing states thought presidential candidates should release multiple years of their tax returns.

Read more
It's All Politics
11:04 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Missouri's Claire McCaskill Gets Clarity On Her Opponent, If Not Her Future

The Missouri Republican primary win by Rep. Todd Akin gives Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Democrat, the choice she seemed to prefer.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 12:05 pm

The only sure thing for Sen. Claire McCaskill, the embattled Missouri Democrat trying to remain in the Senate, is that she now knows who her challenger will be this fall: U.S. Rep. Todd Akin.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:05 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Convention List Grows: Carter (By Video) At Democrats'; Santorum At GOP's

Former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center in Atlanta in February 2012.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 5:50 pm

Former President Jimmy Carter may be the epitome of failed presidents in the eyes of many Republicans.

But the Democrats announced Tuesday that the one-term president will have a prime-time speaking role at their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September. Carter won't be there live, however; he'll speak by video.

A news release from the Democratic National Convention Committee quoted the former president:

Read more
It's All Politics
2:49 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Romney Attacks President On Welfare; Obama Team Alleges Hypocrisy

President Bill Clinton signs welfare reform legislation into law on Aug. 22, 1996.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 5:02 pm

(Revised and updated @ 5:55 pm ET)

In an attack likely to conjure up for many President Reagan's successful use of Cadillac-driving welfare queens as an issue in presidential politics, Mitt Romney's campaign accused President Obama of using his power to weaken work requirements for welfare recipients.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:00 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Republican Convention Speakers Include Old And New Faces

Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state during the Bush administration, is scheduled to speak from the main podium at the Republican National Convention later this month.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 1:56 pm

Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney may be skipping the Republican National Convention later this month, where Mitt Romney is set to officially become his party's 2012 presidential nominee.

But Condoleezza Rice, the former Bush secretary of state and national security adviser, and the first African-American woman to hold both roles, is scheduled to speak from the main podium, according to the Republican National Committee, which announced Monday the names of several speakers lined up for the event.

Read more
It's All Politics
11:27 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Latest Jobs Data Maintain Status Quo Of Obama-Romney Race

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:10 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.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:19 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

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 4:38 pm

Read more
It's All Politics
4:10 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Obama And Bush's Shared First-Term Obsession: Battleground States

What does President Obama have in common with his immediate White House predecessor?

Both men spent a disproportionate amount of their first terms making appearances in battleground states, Brendan Doherty, a political scientist at the U.S. Naval Academy, writes in a post on The Monkey Cage political-science blog.

Read more
It's All Politics
12:39 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 3:29 pm

Get used to hearing the name Julian Castro. You're likely to be coming across it a lot in coming days and perhaps beyond.

President Obama chose Castro, the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio, to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:23 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 1:01 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.

Read more
It's All Politics
12:29 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 4:31 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:

Read more
It's All Politics
3:12 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 8:47 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.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:38 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Romney In London: Not A Smashing Success So Far

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 5:27 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.

Read more

Pages