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
6:53 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Green GOP Group Caught Between 'Rock And A Hard Place'

Volunteer Tom Strain carries debris from an empty lot as part of an Earth Day cleanup effort in Camden, N.J. The Earth Day events celebrated on April 22 promote a sustainable and clean environment.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:11 pm

On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being green in the Republican Party. Just ask Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica.

ConservAmerica is a membership organization created in 1995 to keep the environmental spirit of GOP President Theodore Roosevelt alive in his party. Back then, the group was known as Republicans for Environmental Protection.

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It's All Politics
6:31 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Are Democrats Trying To Energize The Base With The Race Card?

Attorney General Eric Holder (right) recently expressed outrage at the treatment President Obama and he have received from conservatives. He stopped just short of saying it was race-related, leaving that for the African-American audience at the recent National Action Network convention to decide.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:46 pm

Few mixtures in American life are more emotionally combustible than the one formed by the combination of politics and race.

That helps explain why Democrats, in general, and President Obama, in particular, have tended to steer clear of overtly raising race as an issue to explain some of the opposition to Obama's presidency and agenda.

There seems to be a shift in recent days, however.

Top Democratic party officials have either directly or indirectly blamed race for some of the hostility to Obama, his policies, or both.

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It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Hillary Clinton's Presidential Chess Board

Hillary Clinton's decision on whether to run for president in 2016 will ripple across the presidential candidate fields in both parties.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 8:32 pm

If the jockeying before the 2016 presidential race is a game of political chess, the most powerful queen on the board would obviously be Hillary Clinton.

So much of what will happen in 2016 hinges on Clinton's decision on whether to run, which she has said she'll announce by the end of this year.

If the former secretary of state and New York senator enters the race, she reduces the space on the board for any competitors within her own party. That would be particularly true for the Democratic women mentioned as possibilities for national office.

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It's All Politics
5:19 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

John Boehner Foe Targets 'Electile' Dysfunction

An erectile dysfunction ad isn't the kind of thing most politicians would typically gravitate toward.

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It's All Politics
5:44 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

5 Takeaways From The Equal Pay Debate

President Obama, pictured here with Lilly Ledbetter, and congressional Democrats are working the equal pay issue hard in a midterm election year when they will need as many women to vote as possible.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 7:44 pm

This was the week that included Equal Pay Day, the point on the 2014 calendar to which the average female worker must work to match the average man's 2013 pay.

To mark the occasion, President Obama held a White House event Tuesday to sign executive orders aimed at providing more transparency about what federal contractors pay their workers. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats held a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which failed in a vote that largely fell along partisan lines — the third time that's happened.

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It's All Politics
7:38 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Obama And Al Sharpton: An Odd Couple Who Make Political Sense

President Obama and the Rev. Al Sharpton together at the 2011 National Action Network conference.
Frank Franklin II AP

President Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton might at first seem like one of the odder couples in U.S. politics.

The president is by nature a super-cautious politician, measured in his rhetoric. He has generally stayed away from overt discussions of race for much of his presidency, though he has spoken more openly and emotionally about issues of race during his second term.

Sharpton, on the other hand, built a career as an incendiary racial avenger who for decades was drawn to interracial controversies as if they had some irresistible gravitational force.

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It's All Politics
3:56 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Holder Plays Asparagus Card Against GOP Antagonist

Attorney General Eric Holder played the asparagus card against one of his House Republican tormenters.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 4:18 pm

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It's All Politics
3:56 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

The Politics Of Equal Pay: It's More Than A Women's Issue

A crowd lines up in Atlanta for a recent women's forum on pay equity and other issues featuring Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 4:18 pm

The pay equity issue, which President Obama and Democrats are making a central theme of the 2014 midterm election campaign, is often framed as a women's issue. But Democrats are expecting it will also have crossover appeal to men.

For many men, it's a matter of self-interest: Two-income families are part of a long-term trend, as many families find two paychecks essential to cover the bills in an era of rising prices and stagnant, if not falling, wages.

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It's All Politics
5:34 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

You Could Be A 'New Republican' If You Agree With This Ad

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is part of an effort to redefine the Republican Party.
Wilfredo Lee AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 6:39 pm

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It's All Politics
3:23 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

NPR Poll: GOP's Older Voter Advantage Slips From 4 Years Ago

A strong majority of young voters support the Affordable Care Act, according to a new NPR poll. In March 2014, models handed out juice shots to encourage individuals — and especially young people — to sign up for health insurance.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:04 pm

The new NPR poll had good news for Republicans and Democrats. As NPR correspondent Mara Liasson reported for Morning Edition, likely voters were nearly split evenly between support and opposition to the Affordable Care Act, with 51 percent against and 47 percent for.

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It's All Politics
6:36 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Campaign Finance Ruling Winners: The Political Pros

The Supreme Court victory for Republican activist Shaun McCutcheon (center) was also a win for those in the political campaign business.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 2:10 pm

The Supreme Court's McCutcheon decision has been described both as a victory for the First Amendment and as another damaging blow to campaign finance laws.

One thing seems certain: The decision, which overturned limits on the aggregate amounts individual donors can give to candidates and campaigns, will mean more money sloshing around political campaigns.

In practical terms, that means more business for the political consultants who orchestrate most serious federal political campaigns.

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It's All Politics
4:17 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Chicago Mayor Could Face Tough Re-Election Challenge

Frustration with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has fueled speculation about a challenge from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 5:00 pm

Will Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served at President Obama's side during his first White House term, find himself facing a challenge from another politician who was once close to Obama?

Maybe, if the woman who is president of the Cook County Board, Toni Preckwinkle, decides to run to against the mayor next year.

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It's All Politics
7:18 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

When Politics Is Really Hardball — Baseball's Opening Day

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio throws the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday. Even though he was flanked by children, the Mets home crowd booed de Blasio — an unabashed Red Sox fan.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 7:57 pm

Opening day of the 2014 Major League Baseball season started without the world's most famous southpaw, President Obama, throwing out the first pitch at Washington Nationals Park.

The Nationals were in New York City, where they began their season against the New York Mets with a 9-7 win.

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It's All Politics
7:01 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

The Pope And The President: Common Ground But A Clear Divide

Despite some differences, President Obama and Pope Francis shared a laugh during their Thursday meeting at the Vatican. Obama called himself a "great admirer" of the pope.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 1:04 pm

President Obama's Vatican meeting with Pope Francis wasn't without a dose of irony.

The U.S. president, once the world leader whose vow of "hope" and "change" excited millions, seemed eclipsed Thursday in that department by the pope.

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It's All Politics
6:50 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

The Political Winner From The Proposed NSA Changes? Rand Paul

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul could catch a political updraft from President Obama's decision to restrict NSA telephone data collection efforts.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 8:17 pm

It's too early to gauge the political impact of President Obama's plans to tame the NSA's data-gathering effort. The full details of the proposal haven't been made public yet.

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