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
11:26 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Romney Attacks, Gingrich Doesn't As Both Give GOP Voters Reasons To Doubt

After Newt Gingrich's bravura performance in the final South Carolina debate and his drubbing of Mitt Romney on primary day, the former speaker's challenge in Monday night's debate in Tampa, Fla., was to maintain if not increase his momentum eight days before the Florida Republican presidential primary.

Meanwhile, Romney's challenge was to give his supporters who were shell-shocked by the Palmetto State results reasons to believe he had it in him to turn it around, to stand to do what needed to be done to beat Gingrich in Florida.

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It's All Politics
4:43 pm
Sun January 22, 2012

Gabrielle Giffords' Resignation Message A Reminder Of Gains, Losses

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, with her husband, Mark Kelly, leads the Pledge of Allegiance at a Jan. 8 service to remember the Tuscon shooting victims.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Sun January 22, 2012 5:06 pm

Gabrielle Giffords.

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It's All Politics
2:28 pm
Sun January 22, 2012

Romney, Gingrich Appeals To GOP Right Raises General Election Hurdles

With Newt Gingrich beating Mitt Romney in South Carolina as soundly as the Johnny Rebels in 1861 thrashed the Billy Yanks at Bull Run (or the First Battle of Manassas, depending on your view), the Republican presidential nomination contest marches southward to Florida.

There in the Sunshine State, the campaign promises to be an even more hard- fought affair than in South Carolina, with both candidates battling for their party's conservative soul by out-righting each other.

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It's All Politics
8:32 am
Sat January 21, 2012

South Carolina: Another Unpredictable Point In Campaign Full Of Them

The race for the 2012 Republican presidential campaign has been anything but predictable.

It's been the first contest in memory, for instance, with a candidate, Mitt Romney, who was reputedly the inevitable nominee but so suspect in many Republicans' eyes that they kept searching for an alternative. That has led to nearly every candidate in the crowded field, at one time or another, challenging for frontrunner status.

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It's All Politics
11:40 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Gingrich, Santorum Shine, Romney Doesn't At Last Debate Before S.C. Primary

Republican presidential candidates (from left) Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul participate in the GOP presidential candidate debate at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday.
David Goldman AP

The last Republican presidential debate before Saturday's South Carolina primary was expected to be lively. It didn't disappoint.

It was clear, even before the four remaining candidates met on the stage in Charleston, SC, that at least three of them would face some fairly high-stakes moments that could change the course of the contest. The question going into the debate was would they be able to master those moments?

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It's All Politics
3:22 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Obama's First 2012 TV Ad Defends Energy Record, Dings Koch Bros

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 4:00 pm

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It's All Politics
2:32 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Last GOP Debate Before S.C. Primary Could Produce Political Fireworks

If there's ever been a presidential debate with as much news happening in the hours leading up to the event, it's hard to remember when.

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It's All Politics
4:28 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

Keystone: Dead Pipeline Lives On As Election-Year Issue

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 4:47 pm

Now that President Obama has made his decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, an obvious question is what will it mean for the 2012 presidential election?

Obviously, no one really knows the answer to that though that won't stop weeks if not months of speculation.

The key to Keystone is, which side will have the most success in framing its case to enough voters for it to make a difference?

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It's All Politics
11:29 am
Wed January 18, 2012

McCain's 2008 Anti-Mitt Romney Oppo Research Raised 2012 Themes

A document that purportedly represents opposition research targeting Mitt Romney from Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign was posted online by Buzzfeed reporter Andy Kaczynski.

Immediately noticeable is how many of criticisms of Romney by his rivals during the current race for the Republican presidential nomination could just have easily come from McCain's opposition research of four years ago.

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It's All Politics
8:33 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Internet Blackout Puts Washington Online Piracy In Limelight

Screenshot of Wikipedia landing page.
Wikipedia screenshot

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 10:06 am

SOPA and PIPA (no, they're not the Duchess of Cambridge's sisters) will be on the minds of a lot more people Wednesday because of the online protests by Wikipedia, Google and other popular websites over the anti-piracy legislation with the catchy acronyms currently under consideration in Congress.

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It's All Politics
3:52 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Wisconsin Democrats Exceed Million-Signature Mark For Walker Recall

Jeremy Levinson, (l) a lawyer to the recall committees, talks about the petitions as Mike Tate (c) Wisconsin Democratic Party chair listens, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 4:48 pm

How badly do Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's opponents want him out of office? So badly they collected significantly more signatures than they needed to ensure a recall election for the governor. A lot more.

We're talking more than a million signatures, according to Wisconsin Democrats who, in order to meet the Tuesday deadline, were hauling boxes of documents to the state office responsible for reviewing them.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:

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It's All Politics
2:00 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Gingrich Asks SuperPAC To Correct Or Pull 'King Of Bain' Romney Movie, Ads

Newt Gingrich at the opening of his Florida campaign headquarters in Orlando, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 2:35 pm

Barely a day has gone by without Newt Gingrich complaining about the inaccuracy of ads run against him by a superPAC supporting Mitt Romney.

So now that an anti-Mitt Romney film purchased by a superPAC supporting Gingrich has been criticized for numerous inaccuracies, Gingrich has asked that the film's creators and the funders paying for ads using film snippets edit out the falsehoods or take the ads and film down entirely.

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It's All Politics
9:40 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Obama Government-Streamlining Offer Creates GOP Dilemma

President Obama proposal to streamline government will be challenging for the GOP to counter.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 11:54 am

Maybe even if it weren't a general-election year, President Obama would still be proposing that Congress give him the power to merge federal agencies to make the government smaller and more efficient.

But the fact is it is the year in which the president is seeking re-election, a year in which both the eventual Republican presidential nominee and Obama's GOP opponents in Congress will assert hundreds of times before it's over that he is a big-government Democrat.

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It's All Politics
7:09 am
Fri January 13, 2012

New Mitt Romney Ad Defends His Bain Capital Career

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 10:57 am

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It's All Politics
2:31 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Bill Janklow's Death Gives South Dakota Tribal Leader Chance To Vent

When someone dies, the eulogies roll in, the higher the stature of the departed, the more stately the praise.

And that's certainly somewhat true for Bill Janklow, South Dakota's former congressman and governor who died Thursday from his brain cancer.

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It's All Politics
10:55 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Obama's Ex-Car Czar Defends Romney, Bain From GOP Attacks

Steven Rattner.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 11:13 am

Steven Rattner, the Wall Street financier who oversaw the Obama Administration's successful rescues of General Motors and Chrysler, now comes to the aid of some other beleaguered members of corporate America — Mitt Romney in his former role as a private-equity CEO, and Bain Capital, the company the Republican presidential candidate once ran.

In a Politico opinion piece, former "car czar" Rattner defends Romney and Bain which he says was among the better angels in the world of private-equity firms.

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It's All Politics
2:22 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Expert: Pollsters Undersampled Paul's Young, Indie New Hampshire Voters

Young voters at the University of New Hampshire listen to Rep. Ron Paul on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:38 pm

Did pollsters underestimate the strength of Rep. Ron Paul's New Hampshire support because they didn't include enough younger voters or independents in their samples?

Yes, argues Stefan Hankin, a Washington, D.C. based pollster in a piece on the Campaign and Elections website.

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It's All Politics
6:34 am
Wed January 11, 2012

'Down And Dirty,' South Carolina Has History Of Quashing Challengers

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney laugh during a campaign event on Jan. 5 in Charleston, S.C.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:23 pm

Now it's South Carolina's turn.

If the Palmetto State, the "First in the South" primary, plays its traditional role in the Republican presidential nomination process, it will be where the White House hopes of virtually every candidate except the eventual nominee will go to die in about 10 days.

It's not for nothing that it's called the "South Carolina Firewall." And at this moment, it's looking like it's Romney's firewall.

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It's All Politics
7:01 am
Tue January 10, 2012

What GOP Candidates Need From New Hampshire

If the New Hampshire primary goes as widely expected, Mitt Romney should emerge the winner among the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. For weeks, polls in the state have shown him with a commanding lead.

But the 2012 campaign season has already delivered some surprises. Maybe New Hampshire will provide the latest in the series of unexpected twists?

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It's All Politics
11:29 pm
Sat January 7, 2012

New Hampshire Debate Left Us Really Ready For Some Football

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (left to right) take their positions after a break in a debate in Manchester, N.H., Saturday.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Sun January 8, 2012 10:25 pm

Many of the journalists and professional political types who dutifully watched Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire probably had the same thought occur to them at several points: "For this we missed most of the NFL wildcard game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions?"

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It's All Politics
3:17 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

What Does Santorum's Iowa Rise Mean? Likely Not Much

Rick Santorum with news media after a campaign stop in Indianola, Iowa.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 8:04 pm

Because the news media abhor the absence of drama as much as nature supposedly detests vacuums, Rick Santorum's rise in recent polls of likely Iowa Republican presidential primary caucus voters definitely scratches a journalistic itch.

Santorum's ascent to the top three in Iowa polls, along with Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, has spiced up the race, especially after the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania spent so many months stuck in the caboose of GOP candidates.

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It's All Politics
10:23 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Boehner's 2012 Challenges Highlighted By Payroll Tax Misstep

House Speaker John Boehner announces a payroll tax cut extension agreement, December 22, 2011.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 11:09 am

When the histories of the current 112th Congress are finally written, maybe it all will become clear.

But for right now, there seem to be many more questions than answers.

For instance, why did House Republicans ever think it was a good idea to stake out a position on the payroll-tax issue that would leave them holding the bag for a new year's tax increase for 160 million workers? That has now been averted with Congress' passage Friday morning of a two-month extension of the current payroll-tax holiday.

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It's All Politics
11:27 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Romney Regains Stride; Gingrich Shows Old Newt At Sioux City Debate

Mitt Romney returned to form in the final Republican presidential debate before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Romney, who had perhaps his shakiest debate performance in Des Moines over the weekend, appeared to regain his composure in Thursday night's debate in Sioux City, Iowa.

He managed to once again convey the sense that he was the one GOP candidate of the seven remaining who could credibly stand on the same stage with President Obama next fall, the most electable of the candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination.

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It's All Politics
4:59 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Iowa Gov. Branstad On GOP White House Contest: 'It's A Wide Open Race'

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 8:14 am

Iowa's popular Gov. Terry Branstad hasn't endorsed any of the Republican presidential candidates crisscrossing his state yet.

Which means he can at least claim to be above the intramural GOP fray scheduled to end in a few weeks when his state's Republican voters attend caucuses to choose their preference for their party's White House nominee.

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It's All Politics
11:10 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Sioux City Debate: GOP Candidates' Last Joint Meeting Before Voting Starts

The Republican presidential debates have mattered more this year than anything else in determining which candidate had the momentum and the lead in the race for the White House nomination.

Thus, Thursday evening's Sioux City, Iowa debate (Fox News, 9 pm ET) could be decisive in narrowing the gap between Newt Gingrich and the rest of the field or cementing his frontrunner status.

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