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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7:21am

Thu October 10, 2013
It's All Politics

Thursday Morning Political Mix

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:02 am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and a sign of the times.
Evan Vucci AP

Good morning, fellow political junkies. It's Day 10 of the federal government's partial shutdown. And while it's a dreary, rainy day in Washington, there did appear to be more glimmers of hope this morning than in recent days.

Today's theme is movement, as in, there seem to be some tentative steps towards resolving the current fiscal impasse as President Obama and House Republicans are scheduled to meet at the White House later Thursday.

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6:13pm

Wed October 9, 2013
It's All Politics

Shutdown Diary: Paul Ryan's Plan Gets Tea Party Pushback

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., offered a path forward in the fiscal stalemate, but Tea Party hard-liners weren't impressed.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Are House Republicans still seeking Democratic concessions on the Affordable Care Act? Or have they switched their sights to even bigger targets: federal spending on entitlements like Medicare and Social Security?

The answer on Wednesday depended on which Republican you asked.

Paul Ryan's Pitch

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6:30am

Wed October 9, 2013
It's All Politics

Wednesday Morning Political Mix

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 7:18 am

President Obama gets some support outside the White House, Oct. 8, 2013.
JEWEL SAMAD AFP/Getty Images

Good morning, fellow political junkies. It's Day 9 of the partial federal government shutdown. Global financial markets at this point still appear to expect sanity to eventually prevail in the Washington fiscal standoff. We'll have to see if they're right.

The day's big news is expected to be President Obama's choice to head the Federal Reserve of the candidate thought to be his second choice since his first proved politically problematic.

Here are some of the more interesting politically related items that caught my eye this morning.

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5:41pm

Tue October 8, 2013
It's All Politics

Shutdown Diary: Obama Takes On The Default Deniers

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:30 pm

At a Tuesday news conference, President Obama underscored Democrats' refusal to negotiate with Republicans on bills to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
Charles Dharapak AP

On Day 8 of the federal government's partial shutdown, President Obama called House Speaker John Boehner. But the morning phone call produced no movement toward resolution, according to readouts by aides to both men.

Here are some of Tuesday's news highlights:

President Obama

Obama gave his first lengthy press conference since early August, answering questions for more than an hour.

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3:56pm

Tue October 8, 2013
It's All Politics

House GOP's Latest Idea: A Fiscal Supercommittee, Sort Of

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) at the hearing where he discussed his bill to create a bipartisan committee to tackle fiscal issues.
C-SPAN screen shot

The latest House GOP gambit in the fiscal fight is ... wait for it ... a supercommittee.

But Republicans aren't calling it a supercommittee since that's the term for the failed panel that brought us the the sequester.

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7:18am

Tue October 8, 2013
It's All Politics

Tuesday Morning Political Mix

Despite all the warning signs, U.S. leaders continue to barrel toward a debt default with no one yet willing to step on the brakes.
SAUL LOEB AFP/Getty Images

Good morning, fellow political junkies. It's Day 8 of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Among the only certainties: many federal workers are a day closer to missing a paycheck and the nation is a day closer to hitting the debt ceiling.

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7:04am

Mon October 7, 2013
It's All Politics

Monday Morning Political Mix

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 8:12 am

People who for years had planned to be boating down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon right about now instead found themselves on Saturday camping in a parking lot because of the government shutdown.
Julie Jacobson AP

Good Monday morning, fellow political junkies. The partial shutdown of the government enters its second week and on Day 7 of the crisis neither side appears to have softened its position.

At least furloughed federal workers got the good news over the weekend that Congress had approved giving them backpay for the time they are locked out of their jobs.

Here are some of the more interesting news items with greater or lesser political import that caught my eye this morning.

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3:07pm

Fri October 4, 2013
It's All Politics

Obama's Lunch: Sandwich With A Side Of Shutdown Messaging

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:59 pm

President Obama and Vice President Biden at Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop near the White House on Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

Before President Obama canceled his Asia trip, some of us wondered how he could possibly leave the U.S., especially for the exotic resort island of Bali, during the federal government shutdown.

Forget the logistical complications caused by having so many staffers unable to work the trip. What about the optics of having the president at a lush tourist destination while hundreds of thousands of government workers were furloughed and worried about missing paychecks?

Obama solved that potential problem by canceling his overseas trip, which would have started Saturday evening.

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7:38am

Fri October 4, 2013
It's All Politics

Friday Morning Political Mix

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:16 am

Anti-Obama demonstrators in Indonesia will have to hold their protests without him. He cancelled his Asian trip due to the U.S. government shutdown. (Their signs accused him of murdering Muslims.)
BAY ISMOYO AFP/Getty Images

Happy Friday, fellow political junkies. Of course, it's hard to be happy if you're one of the more than two million federal workers either furloughed or working without pay, or one of the millions of other Americans whose lives are disrupted by official Washington's dysfunction. It's Day Four of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition. And an end to the disagreement still doesn't seem in the offing.

On that grim note, here are some items of political interest worth mulling over this morning.

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6:40pm

Thu October 3, 2013
It's All Politics

Shutdown Diary, Day 3: More Talk, Little Action

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 7:04 pm

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. (from left), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., head for a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Congress: On Day 3 of the shutdown, a Washington made tense by partisan acrimony was put even more on edge by a bizarre incident. A woman who drove erratically near the White House and then the U.S. Capitol, causing the legislative complex to be locked down, ended up dead after a high-speed chase that left a Capitol Hill police officer injured.

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6:55am

Thu October 3, 2013
It's All Politics

Thursday Morning Political Mix

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 7:16 am

Washington has had no shutdown of meetings, like Wednesday's at the White House between President Obama and congressional leaders. But the path to reopening the government seemed no clearer.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Good morning, fellow political junkies. As we enter Day 3 of the federal government shutdown, the impasse appears no closer to a solution. Nothing like a way forward seemed to come from President Obama's White House meeting Wednesday evening with congressional leaders.

But, then, we didn't expect much from it since the president's people said he wouldn't be negotiating.

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5:45pm

Wed October 2, 2013
It's All Politics

Shutdown Diary: Day 2

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 8:12 pm

Anti-shutdown protesters in Los Angeles may have had enough of the budget crisis, but it appears to be far from over.
Jae C. Hong AP

Wednesday's Highlights:

White House

Day 2 of the federal government shutdown found President Obama summoning congressional leaders to the White House to urge House Republicans to pass legislation to reopen agencies and raise the debt ceiling to avoid a first-ever default by the U.S. (Nothing was resolved; here's the story.)

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6:20am

Wed October 2, 2013
It's All Politics

Wednesday Morning Political Mix

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:30 am

A visitor to the federally run Folk Art Center in Asheville, N.C., on Tuesday expressed the dismay many felt because of the government shutdown.
Chuck Burton AP

It's Day Two of the Federal Government Shutdown, 2013 edition with no end in sight.

So there's a heavy focus on shutdown-related items or themes today in this morning's political mix of items and themes that caught my eye:

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5:53pm

Tue October 1, 2013
It's All Politics

Shutdown Diary: War Of Words, And A Victory For Some WWII Vets

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 7:33 pm

Veterans who came to Washington Tuesday to see the World War II memorial on the National Mall were able to complete their visit, although the memorial — like other federal museums and memorials — was officially closed to the public.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Day 1 of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition, was business as usual, at least when it came to each side trying to win the message war and keep the pressure on the political opposition in the hope of getting them to blink first.

President Obama had a White House Rose Garden event to mark what also was the first day individuals were able to enroll in the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges. With real people who would benefit from the law arrayed behind him in a photo op, he used the moment to blast Republicans.

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2:16pm

Tue October 1, 2013
It's All Politics

No Talks Underway To Resolve Shutdown

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 5:53 pm

A sign announces the closing of the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday.
Mark Lennihan AP

If you're wondering how long the shutdown will last, well, don't hold your breath.

As of this writing, there are no indications that talks are underway — or even in the offing.

Indeed, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected House legislation Tuesday morning calling for a House-Senate conference to try to settle the disagreement behind the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.

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