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
7:13 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Move Over Benghazi; Here Comes Bergdahl

Bob and Jani Bergdahl, the parents of freed American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, with President Obama at the White House on Saturday. The controversy over Bergdahl's release could cast a long shadow over the administration.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 7:42 pm

Just when it seemed like the outrage on the political right over Benghazi had subsided to the point where only the announcement of House hearings put it back in the headlines, the exchange of captive U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban fighters at Guantanamo Bay came along.

Now President Obama finds himself amid another foreign policy and national security controversy with fresh legs that even features Susan Rice — the White House official who played a prominent early role in the Benghazi controversy — making an encore.

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It's All Politics
6:32 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

New EPA Rules Burn Red State Democrats

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy during her announcement Monday of a plan to limit power plant greenhouse gases.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:48 pm

While many on the left embraced the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules to reduce coal-burning power plant carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, some red state Democrats couldn't put enough distance between themselves and the Obama administration.

You would have had a tough time, for instance, distinguishing the reaction of Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes from that of the man she hopes to replace, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate's top Republican.

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It's All Politics
5:54 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Shinseki Couldn't Outflank Election Year Politics

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki pauses while speaking at a meeting of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

By President Obama's own admission, politics had a lot to do with why he decided to accept Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation Friday.

In saying that he accepted Shinseki's judgment that there was a real downside to him remaining in the Cabinet, Obama said: "Well, the distractions that Ric refers to in part are political."

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It's All Politics
12:03 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Democrats Plan Ad Buys In Some Rather Blue Places

Massachusetts Rep. John Tierney, shown with D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton during a June 2013 hearing, is a blue-state Democrat who could be in a tight re-election race.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 4:06 pm

A list of the House races for which Democrats have asked broadcasters and cable companies to reserve $44 million in ad time provides a revealing look at the shape of the midterm election landscape this fall.

  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to spend money in some of the bluest states on the map — places like Massachusetts, Illinois and California.
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It's All Politics
4:26 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Texas Tea Party Gives GOP Establishment The Blues

Republican Dan Patrick at his victory party on Tuesday. Patrick defeated incumbent David Dewhurst to capture the Texas GOP lieutenant governor's nomination.
Patric Schneider AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:41 pm

This was starting to look like a bad year for the Tea Party, with primary election losses to Republican establishment candidates beginning to pile up. Then came Texas.

In yet another example of the distinctiveness of Lone Star State politics, Tea Party candidates had a field day Tuesday in primary runoff elections, knocking off several Republican incumbents.

In the highest-profile race, state senator and conservative radio host Dan Patrick, with energetic Tea Party backing, defeated Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, ending his 16 years in statewide office.

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It's All Politics
6:59 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Court Orders Conyers Back On Ballot

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., in November 2012. He's held his Detroit-area congressional seat for close to 50 years.
Carlos Osorio AP

A federal court threw Rep. John Conyers a lifeline Friday with a decision that stops Michigan election officials from throwing the veteran lawmaker off the primary ballot.

The possibility of the 25-term Democratic congressman — who would become the longest-serving member in the House if he wins another term — fell into doubt when election officials said Conyers failed to secure enough legitimately collected signatures on his petitions for a spot on the ballot.

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It's All Politics
6:30 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Senate To NFL: Change The Redskins' Name

Both senators in Maryland — where the Washington Redskins play — signed on to a letter urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to get the team to change its name.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 7:01 pm

The United States Senate ratcheted up the pressure on owner Daniel Snyder on Thursday after a letter — signed by half the Senate — was sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, asking him to use his authority to get the Washington Redskins to change a team name that many consider racist.

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It's All Politics
7:33 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Pelosi Picks Democratic Team For Benghazi Panel

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the presence of Democrats will keep the House select committee on Benghazi "fair and open and balanced."
Jacquelyn Martin AP

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's decision to have Democrats participate on the House Benghazi select committee? A defensive move.

Some of her Democrats had urged Pelosi to boycott the committee. In their view, to take part would be to play into the hands of House Republicans who want to use the ninth investigation of the September 2012 attack in Libya, which left four Americans dead, to rally conservatives for the midterm elections.

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It's All Politics
5:25 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

In Kentucky, An Epic Senate Race Takes Shape

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic nominee for a Senate seat from Kentucky, talks with recent college graduate Lee Fowler during a May 17 campaign stop.
Timothy D. Easley AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 3:01 pm

It says something about Kentucky's Republican Senate primary that its most memorable aspect wasn't some fiery debate exchange between Sen. Mitch McConnell and challenger Matt Bevin, or any kind of clash like that. There was no debate.

Instead, it was a weird viral Web video from the Senate minority leader's campaign that featured him smiling in different contexts. Naturally it was one endlessly mocked by late-night comedians and parodied on the Web — it also led to the coining of a new word: "McConnelling."

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It's All Politics
3:39 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

A Role Reversal In Pennsylvania's Race For Governor

Tom Wolf, who leads in polls for Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial nomination, shakes hands with a customer at a Mount Lebanon, Pa., hardware store on Thursday.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 4:56 pm

If the polls are correct, the Pennsylvania governor's race is poised to see the usual political script flipped.

The Republican incumbent, Gov. Tom Corbett, is using a populist attack against the challenger who is leading the Democratic primary field — accusing Tom Wolf of being an opportunistic businessman who profited at the expense of taxpayers and workers.

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It's All Politics
5:53 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Past And Future Collide In Silicon Valley Congressional Race

Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., dances to the music of Los Tigres del Norte during an immigration rally on the National Mall in Washington in October 2013.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 6:11 pm

The race between Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna, two California Democrats vying to represent a Silicon Valley-based congressional district, is a classic example of a generational contest — a youthful challenger claiming to represent the future taking on a popular longtime incumbent.

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It's All Politics
1:48 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Veteran Congressman Makes A Career-Threatening Mistake

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, at a congressional hearing last week. The Democrat and longtime congressman faces the prospect of not being on Michigan's August primary ballot after failing to present the required number of valid signatures.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:27 pm

It's basically Politics 101. To get on the ballot in many states, candidates for office must first collect a designated number of valid signatures from voters, and present those petitions to election administrators.

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It's All Politics
6:42 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Latest Partisan Flashpoint: GOP Benghazi Fundraising

NRCC screenshot

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 7:09 pm

The name "Benghazi" used to just inflame conservatives. Now it is demonstrating its power to outrage progressives as well, though for different reasons.

To be precise, Democrats are angered not just by the House GOP's creation of a special committee to probe the 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead but by Republican fundraising in connection with the Benghazi probe.

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It's All Politics
7:03 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Democrats Play Wait-And-See On Benghazi Panel

A Libyan man is shown inside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on Sept. 11, 2012.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 12:05 pm

Updated on May, 7, 2014 at 10:46 am

Late Tuesday, House Republicans made public on Speaker John Boehner's website their draft resolution to create the Benghazi select committee. The resolution calls for a panel of seven Republicans and five Democrats and no written rules for the panel.

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It's All Politics
3:15 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

The Energy Behind Repealing Obamacare May Be Ebbing

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, have backed off pushing for repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 5:39 pm

Sure, you can still hear congressional Republicans talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

But there's clearly something different about the current climate, and the GOP approach to Obamacare. The thrill of repeal may not be gone for Republicans, but much of the urgency of repeal is.

For starters, the House GOP doesn't have more repeal votes lined up for these weeks after the spring recess.

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It's All Politics
5:35 am
Sat May 3, 2014

John Boehner Faces A Primary Challenge, But Only Barely

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, listens to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., before talking to reporters at the Republican National Committee headquarters on April 29.
AP

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 8:21 pm

Let's stipulate that Speaker John Boehner doesn't really have to worry about his Republican primary challengers Tuesday.

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It's All Politics
4:13 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Poll: Young Voters Uninterested In November 2014 Elections

A young Miami voter wears her "I voted today" sticker in October 2012.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 4:57 pm

Youth is a time of idealism and energy, except, perhaps, when it comes to voting in the midterm elections.

A new Harvard Institute of Politics poll finds that interest in voting in the November 2014 elections among 18- to 29-year-old voters is lower now than just several months ago — and even lower than it was at a similar point in 2010.

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It's All Politics
2:53 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Boehner Mocks GOP Colleagues For Immigration Fears

House Speaker John Boehner leaves the chamber of the Portuguese Parliament during an April 17 visit in Lisbon. Boehner was in Lisbon as part of an international trip that included visits to Afghanistan and Abu Dhabi.
Francisco Seco AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:00 pm

Voting to overhaul the nation's immigration laws would be a difficult vote for many House Republicans at any time, but especially in an election year.

Which explains why many of them don't want the issue to come to the floor this year for a vote.

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It's All Politics
2:37 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Maryland's Obamacare Stumble Fails To Sway Governor's Race

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown at a January 2014 minimum-wage rally outside the Maryland State House.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 11:04 am

Here's a measure of Maryland's Democratic tilt: Even an epic failure in launching the state's health care website isn't enough to derail the political fortunes of the official responsible for it. The Affordable Care Act is that popular.

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It's All Politics
3:27 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Pennsylvania Congresswoman Goes All In For Obamacare

Rep. Allyson Schwartz is flanked by Katie McGinty, former state environmental protection secretary, and Tom Wolf, a businessman, at a forum for Pennsylvania Democratic candidates for governor.
Jacqueline Larma AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:01 pm

Now that Allyson Schwartz has become perhaps the first Democratic candidate to warmly embrace the Affordable Care Act in a 2014 campaign ad, will other Democrats in statewide races follow suit?

Unlikely.

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