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
7:26 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Some Friday Political Stories Worth Noting

Those aren't bags of money but they might as well be. President Obama and the DNC raised $29.1 million in January.
Susan Walsh AP

A few of the political stories worth noting this Friday:

Congressional negotiators reached agreement on extensions of the payroll tax cut as well as federal jobless benefits and a "fix" that would prevent Medicare reimbursements to doctors from being cut. But while the House's Republican leaders and the Senate's Democratic leaders were on board, Senate Republicansn weren't. Votes are expected in both chambers Friday.

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It's All Politics
2:19 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Santorum Ally Friess Praises Old-School 'Contraceptive': Aspirin Between Knees

Foster Friess got somewhat off message during an MSNBC interview Thursday.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 8:01 am

Foster Friess, Rick Santorum's billionaire supporter, drew some attention from his candidate Thursday with a comment about contraception that was, to say the least, unusual and surefire fodder for late-night TV comedians .

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It's All Politics
9:23 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Santorum Tax Returns Draw Critics Of His Low Charitable Giving

Rick Santorum speaks to the media Feb. 13, 2012 at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Rick Santorum released four years' worth of tax returns Wednesday evening which showed that he is wealthy by any measure.

But his returns may also allow his critics, both those aligned with Mitt Romney, his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination and those who aren't, to attack the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania for not giving as much to charity as many others at his income level.

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It's All Politics
7:30 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Record GM Profits Could Make Romney's Anti-Bailout Message A Harder Sell

Mitt Romney laughs with supporters at a rally in Kentwood, MI, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.
Gerald Herbert AP

Mitt Romney has worn his opposition to the Obama administration's bailout of GM and Chrysler into Michigan as a badge of honor in the lead up to the state's Republican presidential primary at the end of the month.

But that message may be a harder sell for him against the backdrop of GM reporting Thursday that it posted record profits in 2011 of $7.6 billion, 62 percent higher than the previous year's.

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It's All Politics
3:16 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 3:30 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
10:23 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 12:11 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
7:45 am
Wed February 15, 2012

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

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:47 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
6:56 am
Wed February 15, 2012

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

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:28 pm

Rick Santorum's presidential campaign has just put up one of the cleverest ads of 2012. (Of course, we're only less than two months into the year.)

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It's All Politics
3:43 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 1:28 pm

Both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have new ads up in Michigan as they try to shape their images for voters with the state's primary approaching in two weeks.

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It's All Politics
12:16 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
3:40 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

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

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:36 am

As fiscal experts around Washington and beyond pored over President Obama's 2013 budget proposal, one of the nation's most persistent nags about the need for the U.S. to clean up its budgetary act reminded his fellow citizens of just how much a mess the whole process is.

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It's All Politics
1:17 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

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

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:36 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
8:33 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
9:29 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Another Senate Campaign Could See SuperPAC Truce (Or Not)

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 9:48 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
10:47 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
2:34 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Romney Campaign Preemptively Downplays MN, CO And MO Contests

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 2:36 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
11:54 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Poll: Majority Of Voters Support Birth-Control Benefit Rule

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 11:57 am

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
3:23 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Fight For GOP Soul, SuperPACs Spur Negative Political Ad Explosion

Originally published on Mon February 6, 2012 5:08 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
10:10 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
11:24 am
Fri February 3, 2012

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

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 1:10 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
3:04 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 10:57 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
9:13 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Romney's Line That He's 'Not Concerned About Very Poor' Will Linger

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney celebrates his Florida primary election win at the Tampa Convention Center on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Mitt Romney's comment Wednesday about the social safety net has already been boiled down to a quick shorthand: "I'm not concerned about the very poor." It adds to a growing collection of statements that fuel charges that he has, if nothing else, a very tin ear and is an out-of-touch member of the .01 percent.

In a CNN interview with Soledad O'Brien, Romney said in part:

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