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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5:17pm

Wed November 28, 2012
It's All Politics

In Fiscal Cliff PR War, Obama Seeks Help From A Public Already Leaning His Way

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 7:18 pm

President Obama speaks Wednesday while meeting with citizens at the White House. Obama called on Republicans to halt an automatic tax hike for middle-class Americans.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

In Washington's latest game of chicken, President Obama is counting on voters who see things his way to give him the edge in his quest to get congressional Republicans to accept tax increases on the nation's wealthiest as part of any fiscal cliff deal.

To energize those voters, the president is ramping up a series of campaign-style events meant to educate the public about the stakes, as he sees them, of letting the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class Americans expire if no agreement is reached by year's end.

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4:56pm

Mon November 26, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 7:19 pm

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

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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6:36pm

Wed November 21, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 7:20 pm

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

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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6:19pm

Tue November 20, 2012
It's All Politics

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

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

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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3:31pm

Mon November 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Rubio Dodges Question On Earth's Age

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 7:25 pm

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

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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5:28am

Sat November 17, 2012
It's All Politics

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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5:46pm

Thu November 15, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 6:10 pm

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

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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6:04pm

Wed November 14, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:49 pm

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

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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12:15pm

Wed November 14, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 2:36 pm

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

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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5:23pm

Fri November 9, 2012
It's All Politics

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

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 5:52 pm

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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