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
1:57 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

New 'War On Christmas' Takes A Fiscal-Cliff Twist

The Christmas shopping season could be harmed if the fiscal cliff fight depresses consumer confidence, according to a new report from Obama administration economists.
Andrew Kelly Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:19 pm

In past years, conservatives have used the phrase "war on Christmas" to liberally accuse liberals of trying to ruin the holiday through political correctness and anti-religiousness.

This year, it's the Obama White House warning that Republicans are a threat to Christmas or, more precisely, the part of the economy that relies on the holiday shopping season — retail sales.

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It's All Politics
4:19 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Bad End Is Just The Latest For A Snake-Bit District

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, seen here in October 2011, resigned from Congress on Wednesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:20 pm

Talk about your snake-bitten congressional districts.

The Thanksgiving-eve news that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was resigning from Congress after reports that he has bipolar disorder and is the subject of a criminal probe of his spending of campaign funds, is just the latest in a series of bad endings for those who have represented Illinois' 2nd Congressional District in Washington.

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It's All Politics
4:11 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Obama Campaign Machine May Be Turned Loose On Fiscal Cliff Climbing Congress

Jim Messina, President Obama's 2012 campaign manager
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 4:19 pm

The 2012 general election may be slipping into the past, but elements of President Obama's successful campaign aren't likely to go away anytime soon.

Just as it did after the president's 2008 election, the Obama campaign appears very likely to keep alive parts of the grass-roots effort that contributed to victory. And, just like four years ago, the idea would be to use the corps of Obama organizers and volunteers to push for the president's second-term agenda.

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It's All Politics
1:16 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Rubio Dodges Question On Earth's Age

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in Iowa on Saturday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:25 pm

According to scientists, the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Most of the people who vote in presidential primaries aren't scientists, however.

Indeed, a Gallup poll this year reported that 46 percent of Americans (58 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents) held a nonscientific belief in creationism, the religious-based view that humans were divinely created within the past 10,000 years.

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It's All Politics
3:28 am
Sat November 17, 2012

Obama And Lawmakers' Confidence About Avoiding Cliff Isn't Universal

Congressional leaders after their meeting with President Obama Friday. From left: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), House Speaker John Boehner (R) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).
Jacquelyn Martin AP

As President Obama and congressional leaders started negotiations Friday to find a way to avoid the nation's going over the fiscal cliff, it was fairly plain that even some of those who are wisest in the ways of Washington couldn't agree on whether policymakers would actually be able to prevent the federal government from becoming a cliff diver.

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It's All Politics
3:46 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Geography, Not Gerrymandering, May Explain GOP's Hold On House

A man votes on Nov. 6 in Chicago.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:10 pm

Some Democrats complain that Republicans in recent decades have had the edge in House races because GOP state legislatures have been better at the gerrymandering game. Except that may not be true.

Some political experts believe there's an easier explanation, and perhaps a tougher one for Democrats to overcome: Voters supporting Republican House candidates, they say, are spread over more congressional districts than those who support Democrats. It's that simple. It's merely a matter of geography.

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It's All Politics
4:04 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Obama Says He Has One Mandate: To Help The Middle Class

President Obama acknowledges reporters after his White House news conference on Wednesday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:49 pm

A president just re-elected has arguably the most political capital he's likely to have during his entire second term.

And President Obama clearly has some capital, though he didn't overtly refer to it or vow to "spend it," as his predecessor George W. Bush famously said upon his 2004 re-election.

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It's All Politics
10:38 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Obama's Political Moneyball Could Be The Shape Of Campaigns To Come

Democratic party volunteer Matt Lattanzi worked door to door for the Obama campaign while canvassing in a Youngstown, Ohio, apartment building on Oct. 28.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 12:36 pm

A good deal of credit for President Obama's re-election has gone to his campaign's sophistication at interpreting data about potential voters and its use of behavioral research to get supporters to actually vote.

And because success in politics spawns imitators, the approach could well shape how future campaigns are run.

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It's All Politics
3:52 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Deja Vu All Over Again: Obama And Boehner Clash On Fiscal Cliff And Taxes

President Obama speaks about the economy and the deficit Friday in the East Room of the White House.
Carolyn Kaster AP

If you fell asleep Rip Van Winkle-like earlier in the year only to wake up Friday, you might be forgiven for thinking no time had passed.

Because on Friday, President Obama called for higher taxes on the wealthy to be part of any agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, while House Speaker John Boehner strongly indicated that proposal was a non-starter with House Republicans.

But, of course, we just had an election in which the president won a second term and, through that, some political capital. Exactly how much remains to be seen.

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It's All Politics
2:27 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Senate Democrats Add To Majority: Caucus Now 54 Plus One

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., receives a kiss from his grandson Wednesday in Great Falls, Mont. Tester won re-election in a tight contest with Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg.
Michael Albans AP

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 3:33 pm

A very good general election for Democrats got even better on Wednesday when they retained U.S. Senate seats in Montana and North Dakota, both of which had looked ripe for Republicans throughout much of the campaign.

Victories by Sen. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, in contests so close that concessions from the losing Republican candidates didn't occur until Wednesday, helped Senate Democrats reach 54 seats in the next Congress. That was a net increase of one seat from their current majority.

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