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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3:04pm

Fri July 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Jobs Report And Politics: The Monthly Spin Cycle

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 3:32 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the monthly jobs report Friday in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Charles Dharapak AP

Like any Oval Office incumbent seeking re-election, President Obama would prefer to have the economy exceeding expectations in terms of job creation at this point in the campaign.

But exactly four months from Election Day, the economy isn't cooperating. In fact, it's doing just the opposite, underperforming job-growth forecasts in recent months.

Given the trend, it seems unlikely the four monthly jobs reports to be issued between Friday and Election Day will change the pattern in which our politics now seem trapped:

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5:48pm

Tue July 3, 2012
It's All Politics

Michigan's GOP Governor Keeps To Middle Of The Road, Vetoes Voter ID Law

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 6:15 pm

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed voter ID legislation on Tuesday.
John Flesher AP

At first blush, it seems like a man-bites-dog story: a Republican governor vetoing voter ID legislation decried as voter suppression by Democratic critics of the bills.

But when you consider that the chief executive who wielded the veto pen Tuesday was Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, the news becomes somewhat less surprising.

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2:35pm

Mon July 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Adviser Seems To Undercut GOP Health Care Tax Argument

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 10:35 am

There apparently isn't a unified Republican message on whether President Obama has introduced a big new tax through the Affordable Care Act.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide to Mitt Romney, said Monday that the Republican presidential candidate's position is that the penalty under the new law — the one for people who can afford to buy health insurance, but don't — is not a tax.

The Supreme Court last week upheld the health care law's individual mandate on the grounds that it is a permissible tax, in a 5-4 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts.

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4:50pm

Fri June 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Ironies Abound In New Romney Ad

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 10:57 am

In a new anti-Obama ad, Mitt Romney's campaign has struck a mother lode of delicious ironies.

The all-but-official presidential candidate's ad pushes back against the criticisms of his job-creation record as head of Bain Capital, the private equity firm.

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11:41am

Thu June 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama's Supreme Court Health Care Victory Hard To Overstate

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 2:50 pm

President Obama signs the health care bill into law at the White House on March 23, 2010.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Even in Washington, a city where hyperbole rules, it still seems difficult to overstate how big a win the Supreme Court's decision on President Obama's signature piece of domestic legislation is for the man in the Oval Office.

The Affordable Care Act is so identified with him, after all, that its opponents quickly dubbed it "Obamacare," a term supporters at first eschewed but later came to embrace.

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6:23pm

Wed June 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Gets No Relief On Outsourcing Story

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 2:51 pm

Mitt Romney appears with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (left) on Wednesday. Romney failed to convince Washington Post journalists they were wrong to link him to the outsourcing of U.S. jobs while he led Bain Capital.
Charles Dharapak AP

Ever since the Washington Post published a widely read piece last week whose central premise was that when Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital the firm invested in companies that shipped U.S. jobs abroad, President Obama, Vice President Biden and other Democrats have repeatedly cited it.

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3:24pm

Tue June 26, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Tries To Turn The Outsourcing Table On Obama

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 5:43 pm

Mitt Romney greeted supporters in Salem, Va., Tuesday, as his campaign tried to frame President Obama as the real outsourcer of U.S. jobs.
Charles Dharapak AP

Mitt Romney's campaign has an obvious challenge: how best to combat charges from the Obama campaign that when the all-but-official Republican nominee was in the private sector, he was heavily involved in offshoring the jobs of U.S. workers?

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3:26pm

Mon June 25, 2012
It's All Politics

Supreme Court's Arizona Ruling Could Aid Obama While Vexing Romney

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 7:47 am

The political impact of Monday's Supreme Court ruling that three of four provisions of Arizona's immigration enforcement law are unconstitutional — and that a fourth could eventually be found to be — certainly appeared, at first blush, to be a significant political win for President Obama.

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4:12pm

Fri June 22, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Basks In Latino Politicians' Love After His DREAM Moves

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 2:55 pm

President Obama returned a young fan's salute at the conference of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials in Orlando, Fla.
Brendan Smialowski AFP

Coming a week after President Obama announced that he would defer deportation proceedings for many young illegal immigrants, it was safe to predict that he'd get an appreciative response from an audience of Latino leaders. They didn't disappoint.

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3:02pm

Thu June 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Rubio On Compromise, Immigration And His 'Union Activist' Past

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 4:19 pm

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., delivers a speech during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in February in Washington.
Win McNamee Getty Images

To hear Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tell it, it's happenstance that his newly published memoir, An American Son, became available just as the speculation about Republican vice presidential possibilities is heating up.

Rubio, a rising Cuban-American star in his party, told NPR's Robert Siegel, co-host of All Things Considered, in a Thursday interview:

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6:35pm

Tue June 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Senate's Top Republican Seeks A Cue From Romney On Immigration

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:42 am

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

President Obama has certainly put Republicans in a tricky spot with his action to essentially activate parts of the DREAM Act that would defer deportations for certain young illegal immigrants.

Come out against the president's stance, popular with many Latino voters but not exclusively so, and Republicans run the risk of further alienating many of those voters.

But come out in support of the president's act, and many conservatives in the Republican base could get angry.

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3:11pm

Fri June 15, 2012
It's All Politics

With DREAM Order, Obama Did What Presidents Do: Act Without Congress

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 12:12 pm

President Obama on Friday announced he was using his executive power to give some young illegal immigrants the right to stay longer in the United States.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama's announcement Friday that he is using his executive authority to defer deportation proceedings for young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally but meet certain requirements was just the latest example of the president's use of his power to act without Congress on policy issues.

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5:18pm

Thu June 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama, Romney Duel On Economy In Ohio Where It Could All Be Decided

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 6:21 pm

Ohio could very well be the state where what's expected to be a very close presidential race gets decided.

And every indication is that the economy will be the issue that drives the majority of voters to either President Obama or Mitt Romney.

Which explains why on Thursday both the Democratic president and the all-but-official Republican nominee were, again, in Ohio to argue why he and not his opponent should be president starting January 20, 2013.

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1:45pm

Thu June 14, 2012
It's All Politics

Scholars Ding News Media For Uncritically Repeating 'Job Killer' Charge

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 2:11 pm

Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders at a May 31, 2012 news conference at which they described a proposal by Rep. Nancy Pelosi to raise taxes as a "job killer."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

"Job killer."

You don't have to listen very long to what passes in American politics for debate about the economy before you hear that phrase. Usually it's wielded by Republicans against their Democratic opponents although Democrats occasionally resort to it, too.

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1:21pm

Wed June 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Team: Household Net Worth Actually Rose During His Presidency

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 2:12 pm

Obama administration officials pointed to the 56 percent rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since January 2009, and rising 401(k) values as evidence that the personal balance sheets of many Americans have improved during his presidency.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The nearly 40 percent drop in median household net worth between 2007 and 2010 the Federal Reserve reported earlier this week was unarguably an arresting statistic. It confirmed for millions what they already knew, that the Great Recession and its aftermath have been a financial setback with few parallels.

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