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
3:39 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

A Role Reversal In Pennsylvania's Race For Governor

Tom Wolf, who leads in polls for Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial nomination, shakes hands with a customer at a Mount Lebanon, Pa., hardware store on Thursday.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 4:56 pm

If the polls are correct, the Pennsylvania governor's race is poised to see the usual political script flipped.

The Republican incumbent, Gov. Tom Corbett, is using a populist attack against the challenger who is leading the Democratic primary field — accusing Tom Wolf of being an opportunistic businessman who profited at the expense of taxpayers and workers.

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It's All Politics
5:26 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Past And Future Collide In Silicon Valley Congressional Race

Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., dances to the music of Los Tigres del Norte during an immigration rally on the National Mall in Washington in October 2013.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 6:11 pm

The race between Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna, two California Democrats vying to represent a Silicon Valley-based congressional district, is a classic example of a generational contest — a youthful challenger claiming to represent the future taking on a popular longtime incumbent.

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It's All Politics
1:48 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Veteran Congressman Makes A Career-Threatening Mistake

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, at a congressional hearing last week. The Democrat and longtime congressman faces the prospect of not being on Michigan's August primary ballot after failing to present the required number of valid signatures.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:27 pm

It's basically Politics 101. To get on the ballot in many states, candidates for office must first collect a designated number of valid signatures from voters, and present those petitions to election administrators.

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It's All Politics
8:21 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

New Rules Aim To Streamline GOP's 2016 Nominating Process

The RNC wants to see many fewer of these presidential debate scenes in 2016. Before a November 2011 Michigan showdown, from left: former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; businessman Herman Cain; Texas Gov. Rick Perry; Texas Rep. Ron Paul; former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.
Paul Sancya AP

If there are other Herman Cains and Michele Bachmanns out there with 2016 presidential hopes, it may be much harder than it was in 2012 for them to go from "who?" to Republican presidential contenders. That's because of new rules adopted Friday by the Republican National Committee at its meeting in Memphis, Tenn.

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It's All Politics
6:42 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Latest Partisan Flashpoint: GOP Benghazi Fundraising

NRCC screenshot

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 7:09 pm

The name "Benghazi" used to just inflame conservatives. Now it is demonstrating its power to outrage progressives as well, though for different reasons.

To be precise, Democrats are angered not just by the House GOP's creation of a special committee to probe the 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead but by Republican fundraising in connection with the Benghazi probe.

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It's All Politics
7:03 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Democrats Play Wait-And-See On Benghazi Panel

A Libyan man is shown inside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on Sept. 11, 2012.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 12:05 pm

Updated on May, 7, 2014 at 10:46 am

Late Tuesday, House Republicans made public on Speaker John Boehner's website their draft resolution to create the Benghazi select committee. The resolution calls for a panel of seven Republicans and five Democrats and no written rules for the panel.

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It's All Politics
3:15 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

The Energy Behind Repealing Obamacare May Be Ebbing

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, have backed off pushing for repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 5:39 pm

Sure, you can still hear congressional Republicans talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

But there's clearly something different about the current climate, and the GOP approach to Obamacare. The thrill of repeal may not be gone for Republicans, but much of the urgency of repeal is.

For starters, the House GOP doesn't have more repeal votes lined up for these weeks after the spring recess.

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It's All Politics
5:35 am
Sat May 3, 2014

John Boehner Faces A Primary Challenge, But Only Barely

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, listens to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., before talking to reporters at the Republican National Committee headquarters on April 29.
AP

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 8:21 pm

Let's stipulate that Speaker John Boehner doesn't really have to worry about his Republican primary challengers Tuesday.

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It's All Politics
4:13 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Poll: Young Voters Uninterested In November 2014 Elections

A young Miami voter wears her "I voted today" sticker in October 2012.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 4:57 pm

Youth is a time of idealism and energy, except, perhaps, when it comes to voting in the midterm elections.

A new Harvard Institute of Politics poll finds that interest in voting in the November 2014 elections among 18- to 29-year-old voters is lower now than just several months ago — and even lower than it was at a similar point in 2010.

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It's All Politics
2:53 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Boehner Mocks GOP Colleagues For Immigration Fears

House Speaker John Boehner leaves the chamber of the Portuguese Parliament during an April 17 visit in Lisbon. Boehner was in Lisbon as part of an international trip that included visits to Afghanistan and Abu Dhabi.
Francisco Seco AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:00 pm

Voting to overhaul the nation's immigration laws would be a difficult vote for many House Republicans at any time, but especially in an election year.

Which explains why many of them don't want the issue to come to the floor this year for a vote.

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It's All Politics
2:37 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Maryland's Obamacare Stumble Fails To Sway Governor's Race

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown at a January 2014 minimum-wage rally outside the Maryland State House.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 11:04 am

Here's a measure of Maryland's Democratic tilt: Even an epic failure in launching the state's health care website isn't enough to derail the political fortunes of the official responsible for it. The Affordable Care Act is that popular.

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It's All Politics
3:27 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Pennsylvania Congresswoman Goes All In For Obamacare

Rep. Allyson Schwartz is flanked by Katie McGinty, former state environmental protection secretary, and Tom Wolf, a businessman, at a forum for Pennsylvania Democratic candidates for governor.
Jacqueline Larma AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:01 pm

Now that Allyson Schwartz has become perhaps the first Democratic candidate to warmly embrace the Affordable Care Act in a 2014 campaign ad, will other Democrats in statewide races follow suit?

Unlikely.

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It's All Politics
6:18 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Green GOP Group Caught Between 'Rock And A Hard Place'

Volunteer Tom Strain carries debris from an empty lot as part of an Earth Day cleanup effort in Camden, N.J. The Earth Day events celebrated on April 22 promote a sustainable and clean environment.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:11 pm

On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being green in the Republican Party. Just ask Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica.

ConservAmerica is a membership organization created in 1995 to keep the environmental spirit of GOP President Theodore Roosevelt alive in his party. Back then, the group was known as Republicans for Environmental Protection.

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It's All Politics
6:31 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Are Democrats Trying To Energize The Base With The Race Card?

Attorney General Eric Holder (right) recently expressed outrage at the treatment President Obama and he have received from conservatives. He stopped just short of saying it was race-related, leaving that for the African-American audience at the recent National Action Network convention to decide.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:46 pm

Few mixtures in American life are more emotionally combustible than the one formed by the combination of politics and race.

That helps explain why Democrats, in general, and President Obama, in particular, have tended to steer clear of overtly raising race as an issue to explain some of the opposition to Obama's presidency and agenda.

There seems to be a shift in recent days, however.

Top Democratic party officials have either directly or indirectly blamed race for some of the hostility to Obama, his policies, or both.

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It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Hillary Clinton's Presidential Chess Board

Hillary Clinton's decision on whether to run for president in 2016 will ripple across the presidential candidate fields in both parties.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 8:32 pm

If the jockeying before the 2016 presidential race is a game of political chess, the most powerful queen on the board would obviously be Hillary Clinton.

So much of what will happen in 2016 hinges on Clinton's decision on whether to run, which she has said she'll announce by the end of this year.

If the former secretary of state and New York senator enters the race, she reduces the space on the board for any competitors within her own party. That would be particularly true for the Democratic women mentioned as possibilities for national office.

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It's All Politics
5:19 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

John Boehner Foe Targets 'Electile' Dysfunction

An erectile dysfunction ad isn't the kind of thing most politicians would typically gravitate toward.

OK, there was former Sen. Bob Dole pitching Viagra years ago. But he was already out of office when he became a spokesman for the virility drug.

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It's All Politics
7:30 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

If Aide-Kissing Congressman Doesn't Quit, Voters Will Decide Fate

Louisiana Republican Rep. Vance McAllister with his wife, Kelly, as he's sworn in by Speaker John Boehner.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 7:47 pm

As of this writing, Rep. Vance McAllister is still a Republican congressman representing his northeastern Louisiana district.

And that's part of the problem, according to the Louisiana Republican Party establishment. Gov. Bobby Jindal and state party chairman Roger Villere both recommended publicly and strongly that McAllister immediately resign in the wake of widely seen security video showing the married congressman canoodling a married now-ex-staffer.

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It's All Politics
5:32 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

5 Takeaways From The Equal Pay Debate

President Obama, pictured here with Lilly Ledbetter, and congressional Democrats are working the equal pay issue hard in a midterm election year when they will need as many women to vote as possible.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 7:44 pm

This was the week that included Equal Pay Day, the point on the 2014 calendar to which the average female worker must work to match the average man's 2013 pay.

To mark the occasion, President Obama held a White House event Tuesday to sign executive orders aimed at providing more transparency about what federal contractors pay their workers. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats held a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which failed in a vote that largely fell along partisan lines — the third time that's happened.

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It's All Politics
7:38 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Obama And Al Sharpton: An Odd Couple Who Make Political Sense

President Obama and the Rev. Al Sharpton together at the 2011 National Action Network conference.
Frank Franklin II AP

President Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton might at first seem like one of the odder couples in U.S. politics.

The president is by nature a super-cautious politician, measured in his rhetoric. He has generally stayed away from overt discussions of race for much of his presidency, though he has spoken more openly and emotionally about issues of race during his second term.

Sharpton, on the other hand, built a career as an incendiary racial avenger who for decades was drawn to interracial controversies as if they had some irresistible gravitational force.

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Holder Plays Asparagus Card Against GOP Antagonist

Attorney General Eric Holder played the asparagus card against one of his House Republican tormenters.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Revenge and asparagus are apparently dishes best served cold — at least when served by Attorney General Eric Holder.

After a testy exchange Tuesday with Rep. Louis Gohmert, a Texas Republican who had clearly gotten on his last nerve, Holder delivered a dose of ridicule.

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