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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12:53pm

Wed September 26, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's Nevada Problems Explained By A Political Scientist Who Voted For Him

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:04 pm

Mitt Romney at a Las Vegas fundraiser last week.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Nevada, with its six electoral votes, is far from the biggest Election Day prize sought by President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

But in a race that could be so close that neither candidate can afford to concede a single electoral vote, Nevada is being courted by the candidates to a degree far greater than its size would suggest.

Also, while Obama carried the state by 12 percentages points in 2008, the Great Recession hit the state hard, with widespread foreclosures and high unemployment.

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5:26pm

Tue September 25, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Talks Of Slavery, Romney Of Freedom At Clinton Global Initiative

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:35 pm

President Obama talked of the world's need to crack down on human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York on Tuesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

One presidential candidate talked about slavery, the other of freedom.

And the speeches President Obama and Mitt Romney gave at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Tuesday were as different as the men themselves.

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6:00pm

Mon September 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Thwacks Obama For Calling Libya And Other Hot Spots 'Bumps'

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shakes hands at an aircraft museum in Pueblo, Colo., Monday.
Bryan Oller AP

It's taken as a given that American voters in 2012 aren't as concerned about foreign policy as they are the domestic economy.

It's also accepted as true that on matters of foreign policy, President Obama has an advantage over his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who lacks significant firsthand foreign policy experience.

But Romney has made it a point lately to show that he's not ceding foreign policy and national security to Obama.

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6:25pm

Fri September 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney's 2011 Tax Return Gives More Fodder To Critics Who Already Had Surplus

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 6:34 pm

Mitt Romney waves to supporters as he arrives at a rally Friday in Las Vegas.
Julie Jacobson AP

Mitt Romney's Friday release of his 2011 tax return puts that issue back in the headlines just when it had slipped largely off many people's radar screens.

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4:11pm

Fri September 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama, Ryan AARP Appearances Show Politics' Third Rail Is Still Charged

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 4:59 pm

President Obama spoke to AARP members via live video feed.
AARP livestream

Separate appearances Friday by President Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan before an AARP meeting in New Orleans proved that the third rail of American politics, Medicare and Social Security collectively, is still very much electrified.

Speaking to a supremely friendly audience via live video feed from Virginia, where he was campaigning, Obama drew repeated applause and cheers with promises to defend Medicare and Social Security from Republican proposals that he said threaten the entitlement programs' ability to deliver the kind of benefits seniors have become accustomed to.

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4:46pm

Thu September 20, 2012
It's All Politics

Despite Obama's High Latino Support, Univision Puts Him On Hot Seat

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 5:46 pm

President Obama got few if any softball questions when he had his turn at a Univision forum for the two major-party presidential candidates.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama may have the overwhelming support of Latino voters in his race against Republican Mitt Romney, but that didn't get him a free pass during his appearance Thursday at Univision's presidential candidate forum.

Obama faced repeated tough questions from the hosts of the forum on the Spanish-language channel, and from some in the audience, for his failure to deliver on his promise as a candidate in 2008 to push comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in the White House.

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12:00pm

Thu September 20, 2012
It's All Politics

Tim Pawlenty Exits Romney Campaign To Lead Bank Lobbying Group

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 1:03 pm

Tim Pawlenty at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Charles Dharapak AP

With less than seven weeks to go before the presidential election, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is leaving his job as co-chairman of the Mitt Romney campaign to take a top Washington lobbying job.

Pawlenty, 51, will become the next CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, whose 100 members include many of the nation's largest banks and insurance and securities companies.

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1:39pm

Wed September 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Welfare Wasn't Always A Dirty Word In The Romney Family

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 11:24 am

Mitt Romney reads on his campaign bus earlier this year. A 1960s campaign poster supporting his father, George, is behind him.
Gerald Herbert AP

6:40pm

Tue September 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Explains Comments Again As GOP Unearths Obama Video

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 8:39 pm

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign fundraising event in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took his effort to contain the damage from the video of his remarks about Americans who don't pay taxes to Fox News Channel Tuesday.

There, he acknowledged that some of those who don't pay federal income taxes are senior citizens and military service members.

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10:48am

Tue September 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Comparing Romney's '47 Percent' Remark And Obama's 'Cling To Guns' Comments

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 12:16 pm

Mitt Romney speaks about secretly taped video from one of his campaign fundraising events, Monday in Costa Mesa, Calif.,
Charles Dharapak AP

The emergence of video secretly recorded in May, in which Mitt Romney speaks scornfully of President Obama's supporters, has sparked the inevitable comparisons to controversial comments President Obama made in 2008.

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6:08pm

Mon September 17, 2012
It's All Politics

As Mitt Romney Woos Latinos, Obama's Team Derides A 'Makeover'

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made his pitch for Latino votes at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce convention in Los Angeles on Monday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Mitt Romney made yet another attempt Monday to narrow President Obama's substantial polling lead over him with Latino voters.

The Republican presidential nominee spoke at the Los Angeles convention of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where he was respectfully received.

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11:48am

Wed September 12, 2012
It's All Politics

U.S. Embassy Attacks In North Africa Reverberate On White House Campaign

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 8:45 pm

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as President Obama hugs a State Department employee Wednesday. Obama met with State Department workers after the killing of four Americans in Libya.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Updated and revised at 4:26 pm ET:

The death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans at the hands of extremists there became the latest fodder in the 2012 presidential race early Wednesday.

Republican Mitt Romney used the incident to continue his campaign's attacks on President Obama's approach to foreign policy.

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3:59pm

Tue September 11, 2012
It's All Politics

Chicago Teachers' Strike Forces Obama To Steer Carefully Between Two Allies

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 5:19 pm

Striking Chicago public school teachers have a message for Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday.
Robert Ray AP

Getting caught in a fight between two important allies is not where a president locked in a tight re-election race would willingly choose to be.

But that's where President Obama is today as he attempts for now to stay above the fray pitting the striking Chicago teachers against Mayor Rahm Emanuel who, in an earlier incarnation, was Obama's White House chief of staff.

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5:30am

Sat September 1, 2012
It's All Politics

Republicans Gear Up To Thwart An Obama North Carolina Two-Peat

Romney-Ryan campaign volunteers Will Moore and Mindy Moorman in the Greensboro, N.C., office.
Frank James NPR

Blindsided is what North Carolina Republicans felt four years ago when President Obama won the state, though by the slightest of margins — a mere 14,177 votes out of 4.3 million cast.

Republicans admit they had taken as a given a 2008 North Carolina victory by Sen. John McCain. And who could blame them? No Democratic presidential candidate had won the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

But as McCain learned to his grief, history isn't always destiny. Obama's campaign had an effective strategy to win the state, and did.

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5:07am

Sat August 25, 2012
It's All Politics

Veteran N.C. Political Strategists See Obama Path To Winning Tar Heel State

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 9:20 am

President Obama walks onto the stage before speaking at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill on April 24.
Gerry Broome AP

If you want to understand how the White House race will play out in North Carolina as we enter the convention phase, talking to Carter Wrenn, a Republican, and Gary Pearce, a Democrat, is a good start.

The two veteran political strategists have, over decades, been involved in many a Tar Heel campaign.

One of Wrenn's best known clients was Jesse Helms, the late North Carolina senator renowned for both his surliness and race baiting.

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