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
4:16 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Obama's Manufacturing Push Meets Skepticism From Experts

President Obama extolled U.S. manufacturing at Master Lock in Milwaukee as some experts said a return to the nation's industrial past may not be the best path forward.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 4:30 pm

Manufacturing is as American as motherhood, baseball and apple pie. Who could be against Americans making more of what they consume and exporting more to the rest of the world?

Which is why President Obama was hardly taking a political risk Wednesday by going to a Master Lock factory in Milwaukee and extolling the company for repatriating manufacturing jobs from China.

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It's All Politics
11:23 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Election-Year Realities Bring Compromise On Payroll Taxes And More

Speaker John Boehner didn't cite it being an election year or Congress' low approval ratings for the GOP's new flexibility but it's hard to ignore such realities.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Part of President Obama's 2012 re-election strategy was to run against a do-nothing Congress. But congressional Republicans now appear determined to make that approach harder for him by coming to terms on some Democratic priorities.

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It's All Politics
8:45 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Poll: Obama Hits 50% Approval, Leads All GOP Rivals, For Now

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 8:47 am

The new CBS News/NY Times poll definitely contains the kind of information that could put a little spring in any president's step.

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It's All Politics
7:56 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Mich. TV Ad Battle Pt 2: Santorum Humorously Attacks Romney

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 2:28 pm

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It's All Politics
4:43 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

The TV Battle in Mich.: Santorum's True Conservative Vs. Romney's Native Son

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 2:28 pm

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It's All Politics
1:16 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Romney's Hard Line On U.S. Auto Industry Good For Primary But Trouble Beyond

Mitt Romney is sticking by his position, first taken in 2008, that the Obama administration should have let GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Mitt Romney, self-proclaimed "son of Detroit," appears to be in serious trouble in Michigan, falling behind to rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in new polls.

Despite that, he's standing firm on his position that the Obama administration should have allowed two iconic car companies — GM and Chrysler — to enter the regular corporate bankruptcy process three years ago.

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It's All Politics
4:40 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

With Focus On Obama Budget, Fiscal Watchdog Warns Of Broken Process

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 9:36 am

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It's All Politics
2:17 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Pew Poll: Good News For Santorum, Better News For Obama

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 9:36 am

A new Pew Research Center poll reinforces the frustrating political reality for Mitt Romney that he's unable to convince some key conservative constituencies within the Republican Party that he's one of them.

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It's All Politics
9:33 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Romney's Small, Weekend Morale Boosts Don't End His Santorum Troubles

Mitt Romney, the choice of many in his party who see him as their party's most electable White House possibility, may have scored some small morale-boosting victories by winning the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll and the Maine caucuses over the weekend.

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It's All Politics
10:29 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Another Senate Campaign Could See SuperPAC Truce (Or Not)

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:48 am

It might seem like the equivalent of trying to bail the ocean with a bucket but we now have another major race, the U.S. Senate race in Montana, in which the idea of a self-imposed truce by the candidates on superPAC money in the race has come up.

Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, sent a letter to Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican who seeks to unseat him, requesting a truce on outside money funding negative ads for their campaigns, meaning superPACs.

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It's All Politics
11:47 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Romney Still Looks Like Frontrunner Even After Santorum's 3-State Romp

Mitt Romney during a lighter moment in Loveland, Colo. on a day when he lost three presidential preference contests, Feb. 7, 2012.
Gerald Herbert AP

Mitt Romney can take solace Wednesday in the words of Mark Hanna, the 19th century Ohio industrialist and political boss who once famously said: "There are two things that are important in politics, money and I can't remember the second."

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It's All Politics
3:34 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Romney Campaign Preemptively Downplays MN, CO And MO Contests

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 3:36 pm

Mitt Romney's campaign had a message Tuesday for those who would try to stop his forward momentum to the Republican presidential nomination — he's got this.

Oh, and Tuesday's contests really don't add up to much of anything really.

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It's All Politics
12:54 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Poll: Majority Of Voters Support Birth-Control Benefit Rule

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 12:57 pm

The Obama administration's controversial decision to require religiously affiliated institutions like universities and medical centers to provide workers with health insurance that covers prescription birth control without a co-pay appears to have support from a majority of voters, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling.

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It's All Politics
4:23 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Fight For GOP Soul, SuperPACs Spur Negative Political Ad Explosion

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 6:08 pm

Anyone already fatigued from the high rate of negative political ads on TV and radio may want to turn off all their electronics until after Election Day.

Because there's room for it to get significantly worse, Vanderbilt University political scientist John Geer told All Things Considered co-host Audie Cornish Monday.

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It's All Politics
11:10 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Super Bowl's Political Ads Stir Emotions Amid Beer, Chips And Car Ads

Clint Eastwood provided a Super Bowl surprise.
Chrysler ad screenshot

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It's All Politics
12:24 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

If Romney Misspoke About 'Poor' Why Did He Later Repeat Statement?

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 2:10 pm

(Revised at 2:19 pm ET)

In an interview Thursday, Mitt Romney said he "misspoke" when he infamously said earlier in the week that he was not concerned about the very poor because they had a safety net, and the very rich but, instead, was focused on the middle class.

Speaking of the CNN interview that has caused Romney a world of trouble, the Republican presidential frontrunner told Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun during an interview program called Face to Face:

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It's All Politics
4:04 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Axelrod Argues Obama Economic Policies Worked, Though There's More To Do

David Axelrod.
Brian Kersey AP

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 11:57 am

David Axelrod, President Obama's political strategist, has what appears to be — from outside the president's re-election campaign, at least — a problem.

Back in early 2009, when the Obama presidency was still brand new, the president gave that NBC News interview in which he talked about his administration being a "one-term proposition" if the economy didn't snap back in time for his re-election.

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It's All Politics
11:47 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Florida GOP Primary Let Romney Show Skill In Political Knife Fight

Mitt Romney had reason to smile on Florida primary day, Jan. 31, 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

With virtually all polls giving him a solid lead among Florida's Republican voters, Mitt Romney is expected to handily win the Sunshine State's GOP primary Tuesday, putting him back on course for his party's presidential nomination.

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It's All Politics
3:55 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Sen. Jon Tester Decries Citizens United's Impact In Montana, Nationally

Because he sees Citizens United as subverting democracy, Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, proposes a constitutional amendment to reverse it.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 7:30 am

The contest for the seat held by Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, is one of the potentially close 2012 races that could ultimately decide whether Democrats maintain control of Congress' upper chamber.

As such, the battle is attracting attention from outside groups hoping their financial assistance will make a difference for both the first-term Democrat and his Republican challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg, the state's sole House member and a former lieutenant governor.

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It's All Politics
12:56 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Romney Had Testy Target In Gingrich; Will Obama Likewise Oblige?

Will Mitt Romney be able to get under President Obama's skin the way Gov. Jan Brewer says she did?
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 1:26 pm

With Mitt Romney poised to win the Florida Republican primary, and maybe by a significant margin if the latest polls are correct, it's worth asking: how did the former Massachusetts governor manage to stop Newt Gingrich's surge coming out of South Carolina?

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It's All Politics
10:54 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Poll: Romney Has Large Lead Among Florida Hispanic Voters

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 11:06 am

Mitt Romney hasn't had a lot of good news lately but he did get some positive information Wednesday — a new Univision/ABC News poll gives him a significant lead over Newt Gingrich among Florida Latinos less than a week before the Florida Republican primary.

The survey found that 35 percent of respondents said they would vote for Romney while 21 percent said Gingrich was their choice. Rep. Ron Paul was at six percent and Rick Santorum at seven percent.

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It's All Politics
11:09 am
Tue January 24, 2012

Romney Taxes May Be Legally Sound But They're Politically Dicey

Mitt Romney greets audience members at the National Gypsum Co. in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:30 pm

The income fairness debate has just gotten a lot more interesting. And it's taking place in anything but Mitt Romney's "quiet rooms."

Romney's release of his federal tax details for 2010 and 2011 came the morning that President Obama was preparing to deliver his State of the Union address, a speech in which he was expected to make the increasing gap between the superwealthy and everyone else a major topic of the evening.

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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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