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
12:54 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Researchers Find Link Between Isolated State Capitals, Corruption

Despite the misspelling and grammar error, the tee-shirt message is clear on a protester at the Illinois capitol on May 16, 2012. It cites two former governors now in federal prison for corruption.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 12:56 pm

Do state capitals relatively distant from the major population centers have more corruption than those in more densely populated areas?

Researchers report that they have found an intriguing correlation between political corruption in state capitals and population density.

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It's All Politics
10:18 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Reagan Blood Update: It's No Longer For Sale

The Reagans at the George Washington University Medical Center today, April 3, 1981.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 10:36 am

If you had hoped to bid on the medical-lab vial that purportedly contains the dried remains of a blood sample from President Ronald Reagan taken on the day he was nearly assassinated in March 1981, you're out of luck.

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It's All Politics
12:21 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

At Auction, Reagan's Blood Is Pricey But A Bargain Versus Fidel-Signed Flag

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 2:30 pm

It's safe to say that when it comes to recent presidents, Ronald Reagan is the most venerated, especially among Republicans but not exclusively so. Some even accuse conservatives of beatifying the 40th president as though he were on the road to sainthood.

So it's not surprising there would be a Reagan relic out there, specifically a medical-lab vial purportedly containing the dried remains of a blood sample taken from the president on the day he was nearly assassinated in March 1981.

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It's All Politics
2:24 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Under Obama, U.S. Gov't Spends At Lowest Rate In Decades, Says Journalist

President Obama is getting a bum rap on the pace of federal spending, a journalist writes.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 10:39 am

(Updated on 5/23/12 @ 11:55 am. See end of post for Romney campaign response.)

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It's All Politics
11:49 am
Fri May 18, 2012

'President Romney's' First Day In Office: All About Reversing Obama Per Ad

Romney "Day One" ad

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 12:23 pm

Challenging an incumbent president means finding ways to narrow the stature gap between the Oval Office occupant and would-be president.

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It's All Politics
5:20 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

White House Sandwiches Followed By Snark, Disappointment, Warnings

President Obama's limo in what was, in part, the world's most impressive lunch run, Washington, May 16, 2012.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 5:44 pm

President Obama and congressional leaders lunched at the White House Wednesday on sandwiches the leader of the free world purchased during a visit to a Washington, D.C., eatery where he met earlier in the morning with a group of small-business people.

Descriptions of the White House lunch meeting from those on the opposing red and blue teams aware of the details of the discussion made it sound like yet another meeting featuring the nation's top policymakers that you could have accurately described beforehand.

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It's All Politics
2:38 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Romney And Obama: A Tale Of Two Commencement Speeches

President Obama delivers the commencement address Monday at Barnard College in New York.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 6:06 pm

As close as the general election is expected to be, virtually everything the presidential candidates do from here until November is about maximizing the turnout of voters in their respective bases without repelling independents or moderates.

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It's All Politics
5:11 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Romney, Boehner Message: It's Still The Economy (Not Gay Marriage), Stupid

House Speaker John Boehner speaks Thursday at his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill. Boehner spoke on a number of topics but would not comment on gay marriage when asked.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 5:51 pm

Let others get distracted by the news the day before that President Obama now personally supports gay marriage. Mitt Romney and Speaker John Boehner said Thursday they intended to stay on message and keep hitting the president in what they view as his Achilles heel — the economy.

Being that it's also the issue voters have in repeated polls said is most important to them, it was hard to argue with their decision.

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It's All Politics
12:46 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Reaction To Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Suppport: From Sublime To Silly

Reaction to President Obama's bombshell that he now supports gay marriage ran the gamut from profound to lighthearted.
The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 9:06 am

(This post has been revised.)

If anything could predictably induce torrents of Internet reaction, it would be a U.S. president making the surprise disclosure that he supports same-sex marriage. And so it has been following President Obama's Wednesday ABC News interview in which he said he personally backs gay marriage.

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It's All Politics
4:42 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Obama Gambles On Gay Marriage

President Obama was on a TV monitor at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a key historic site of the gay-rights movement.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 9:35 pm

The 2012 presidential election was supposed to be about the economy, and even with President Obama's historic decision to make it known Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage, that is still likely to be true.

But the president's decision to announce in an ABC News interview that he personally backs gay marriage could mean that at least one social issue may take a more prominent role in the election-year spotlight.

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It's All Politics
2:01 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Romney Praises Bill Clinton As New Democrat, Bashes Obama As Old One

Mitt Romney praised Bill Clinton as an enlightened centrist Democrat for reforming welfare and other polices and attacked President Obama as a big-government liberal.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 2:25 pm

As if further proof were needed that the Republican primaries are essentially dead and buried, here's another piece of firm evidence: Mitt Romney praised former President Bill Clinton in a speech in Michigan Tuesday, and not once but twice.

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It's All Politics
5:50 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Romney Town Hall Shows Risks Of Handing Voters The Mic

Mitt Romney poses with a group of supporters at a Euclid, OH town hall-style meeting where some voters didn't exactly help him keep to his themes.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 6:07 pm

In an age when presidential campaigns are typically heavily scripted, town-hall style meetings are anything but.

The upside is that you get the informality of the candidate interacting with regular voters as he or she fields their questions and seems accessible. The downside is you never know what a voter handed the microphone will say.

Mitt Romney, who appears well on his way to becoming the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, got a taste of that risk at a Monday event at a Euclid, OH manufacturing company.

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It's All Politics
12:17 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Some U.S. Conservatives See Obama In France's Hollande

President-elect Francois Hollande waves from a Socialist Party headquarters balcony in Paris Monday May 7, 2012.
Michel Spingler AP

The election of socialist Francois Hollande as France's new president has leached into the U.S. election as some conservatives view it as giving them an opening to attack President Obama who, along with his agenda, has been labeled socialistic by many on the right.

U.S. Senate candidate from Florida, George Lemieux, for instance, took the opportunity of Hollande's win to tweet a warning:

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It's All Politics
2:28 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Surprising No One, Obama, Romney Don't Agree On Meaning Of April Jobs Stats

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 3:57 pm

Justin Wolfers, an economist known for, among other things, his sardonic wit, may have made the best comment of the day on the heels of the April jobs report out Friday. He tweeted:

"The worst part of today's jobs report? It provides just enough inane talking points for both sides of politics."

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It's All Politics
5:19 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Political Scientist Asks: Are Obama's Approval Ratings Better Than They Seem?

President Obama's voter-approval ratings certainly have been far from spectacular for much of his presidency, remaining mostly below 50 percent since November of 2009.

But on that dimension he may actually be doing better than it appears, at least based on some statistical modeling of presidential approval ratings conducted by George Washington University political scientist John Sides.

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It's All Politics
1:39 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Democrats Keep Getting Dinged For Hitting GOP On Women's Health, Loans

MoveOn.org

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 2:00 pm

Democrats keep getting dinged by media fact checkers for attacking Republicans for allegedly wanting to strip money from preventive health programs to pay for to keep the interest rates on some student loans from doubling this summer.

But that hasn't stopped progressives from continuing to make the claim. The latest comes in a new full-page MoveOn.org ad in Politico. The ad reads in part:

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It's All Politics
5:34 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Romney's Praise Of Gingrich Leads Fox Anchor To Call Politics 'Weird, Creepy'

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith provided the sure-to-go-viral moment of the day with some commentary he made after he read aloud a statement issued by the Mitt Romney campaign after Newt Gingrich officially ended his campaign Wednesday for the GOP nomination.

Smith said:

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It's All Politics
3:46 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Politics Not Far From Obama, Romney On Bin Laden Anniversary

President Obama gets a chance to showcase his national security credentials during a surprise visit to Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of the U.S. military.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 6:20 am

On the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALs, there were two contrasting scenes to consider.

One was of President Obama in Afghanistan on a surprise visit, speaking to U.S. troops as their commander in chief in the nation whence the SEALs departed for their successful raid into Abbottabad in neighboring Pakistan.

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It's All Politics
5:19 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Obama 'Forward' Video: President's Case For Re-Election In A Nutshell

A video released Monday by President Obama's re-election campaign looks a whole lot like an abridged version of something you might expect to see in a prime-time slot at the Democratic National Convention.

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It's All Politics
1:09 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Romney Pulls Jimmy Carter Into His Bin Laden Fight With Obama

Mitt Romney fished for votes among fishermen in Portsmouth, NH, April 30, 2012.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 1:19 pm

Former President Jimmy Carter was no doubt minding his own business, which these days usually means being some place in the world doing good works, when his name came up in the 2012 presidential campaign, and not in a good way.

Talking to reporters Monday in New Hampshire, the unofficial GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, uttered Carter's name in defending himself against Democratic attempts to raise doubts about whether Romney, like President Obama, would have ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

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It's All Politics
4:34 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Biden Foreign-Policy Counterattack On Romney Highlights GOP Challenge

Vice President Joe Biden, March 2012.
Madalyn Ruggiero AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 3:24 pm

Foreign policy isn't expected to pave the path to the White House in 2012 though, of course, that could all change in a literal flash.

Still, a president seeking re-election against a backdrop of a lackluster economy would be remiss if he didn't stress his unique role as the nation's top policymaker in the international relations arena and the military's commander-in-chief.

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It's All Politics
5:22 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Obama, Romney Face Uphill Fights As General Election Starts For Real

AP

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 6:52 pm

The Republican primaries were certainly fun while they lasted, especially for political journalists and junkies for whom the intramural fighting generated no shortage of interesting and sometimes bizarre story lines.

But President Obama's campaign aides were all but certain from the start that they would be running against Mitt Romney. That was one of the few areas of agreement between the former Massachusetts governor's campaign and the Obama people.

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It's All Politics
1:54 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Republicans Contrast Serious Romney With Slow Jammin' Obama

President Obama's urbane coolness, viewed by many as an attractive feature of his personality, was part of the joke Tuesday night when he appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, including in the "slow jammin' the news" segment.

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It's All Politics
12:25 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

3 Things To Watch For In Tuesday's Primaries

A man prepares to put in place an informational sign for voters on primary day 2012 in North Greenbush, N.Y.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 1:15 pm

(Revised at 2:03 pm ET with new Ron Paul-Pennsylvania material.)

The contest for the Republican presidential nomination may be over for all practical purposes, with Mitt Romney the all-but-certain GOP nominee. But that doesn't mean there's nothing of interest in Tuesday's primaries.

Voters are going to polls in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and New York, though turnout is expected to be low. Still, here are four things to watch for.

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It's All Politics
4:34 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Social Security, Medicare Reaction Reflects Partisan, Election-Year Divide

Senior citizens protest threatened cuts to Social Security and Medicare in Chicago in November 2011.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Like a mirror that reflects one's ideology back at the viewer, and no more so than during a general-election year, the political players saw what they wanted, and what they thought was most politically useful to their side, in the reports Monday by the Social Security and Medicare trustees on the long-term prospects for those two entitlement programs.

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