Frank James, NPR

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.

Pages

2012 Presidential Election
4:16 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Presidential Debates: The One Area Where Campaigns Pitch Their Weakness

Sen. John McCain and then-Sen. Barack Obama, at one of their 2008 presidential debates.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 2:19 pm

An oddity of U.S. presidential politics is that candidates and their campaigns spend nearly all their time telling voters how superior they are to their rivals in virtually every area: the wisdom of their policy proposals; the soundness of their characters and judgments — everything, really.

Except for debating.

It's the old game of setting the bar high for your opponent and lower for your candidate, of course. That way, anything short of a disastrous debate performance can be claimed as a knockout victory.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
3:48 pm
Sat September 22, 2012

Romney's 2011 Tax Return Gives More Fodder to Critics Who Already Had Surplus

Mitt Romney waves to supporters as he arrives at a rally Friday in Las Vegas.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 6:34 pm

Mitt Romney's Friday release of his 2011 tax return puts that issue back in the headlines just when it had slipped largely off many people's radar screens.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
3:43 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Tim Pawlenty Exits Romney Campaign To Lead Bank Lobbying Group

Tim Pawlenty at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 1:03 pm

With less than seven weeks to go before the presidential election, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is leaving his job as co-chairman of the Mitt Romney campaign to take a top Washington lobbying job.

Pawlenty, 51, will become the next CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, whose 100 members include many of the nation's largest banks and insurance and securities companies.

Read more
Politics
4:40 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Romney Attacks President on Welfare; Obama Team Alleges Hypocrisy

President Bill Clinton signs welfare reform legislation into law on Aug. 22, 1996.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 5:02 pm

(Revised and updated @ 5:55 pm ET)

In an attack likely to conjure up for many President Reagan's successful use of Cadillac-driving welfare queens as an issue in presidential politics, Mitt Romney's campaign accused President Obama of using his power to weaken work requirements for welfare recipients.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
4:49 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Romney In London: Not a Smashing Success So Far

Mitt Romney leaves London's 10 Downing Street after meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:27 pm

The first stop — Britain — in Mitt Romney's foreign tour certainly is starting out rockier than nearly anyone expected.

First there was the kerfuffle over remarks, attributed by a British newspaper to an anonymous campaign adviser, that Romney understood the shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" between the U.S. and Britain in a way President Obama didn't. Those comments were viewed as racist by some and were disowned by the Romney campaign.

Read more
Immigration
3:35 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Polls: Obama's Immigration Changes Get Broad Voter Support

President Obama talks about his decision to stop deporting some young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 3:01 pm

Early indications suggest President Obama has a majority of voters on his side with his decision to defer deportation proceedings for young illegal immigrants who meet certain conditions.

Read more
Immigration
4:09 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

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

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

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

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.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
1:04 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Obama Tosses 'Cowpie of Distortion' at Romney. Will it Stick?

President Obama tossed a cowpie charge at Republican Mitt Romney, May 24, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa.
JEWEL SAMAD AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:05 am

We haven't even yet reached the summer before the general election and already the cowpie is hitting the fan.

Actually, it was President Obama who on Thursday rhetorically hit Mitt Romney, the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee. Obama went all barnyard on Romney, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of not only lying about his presidential record but Romney's as well. It was, according to those following the president's re-election campaign, his toughest attack yet on Romney.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
11:57 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Define Each Other as General-Election Fight Starts for Real

Romey-Steven Senne/Obama-Carolyn Caster AP

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 10:40 am

Incumbent presidents generally try to cast their re-election contest as a choice between the imperfect but well-meaning and effective occupant of the White House and the far worse alternative offered by the rival party.

Challengers, on the other hand, try to frame a presidential race as a referendum on the sitting president whose record nearly always contains missteps, or who can be blamed for trouble in the economy or elsewhere.

In short, whether it's the president or the challenger, the way the game is played requires each to define the opposition as well as himself.

Read more
health
7:36 am
Thu March 29, 2012

White House Aide To Skeptical Journalists: No Contingency Plan On Health Law

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest in February 2012.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 5:20 pm

No matter how many times he said it Wednesday, the White House press corps just didn't seem to be buying deputy press secretary Josh Earnest's assertion that Obama administration officials weren't working on contingency plans just in case the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act.

They also weren't taking at face value Earnest's defense of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli's performance on behalf of the administration Tuesday which has been widely criticized as nervous, halting and all-around less-than-inspiring.

Read more
Politics
8:19 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday: 4 Things To Watch

Ten states hold GOP nominating contests on March 6. Here a voter heads to a polling station Tuesday morning in Cambridge, Mass., where former Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to win his home state.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 8:55 am

Super Tuesday 2012 is finally here, with Republican presidential preference contests — a mix of primaries and caucuses — occurring in 10 states from sea to shining sea.

While the 2012 race for the GOP nomination likely won't be over by Wednesday morning, it could seem far closer to being so, especially if Mitt Romney sweeps contests everywhere but, say, Georgia, where the former congressman from the Peach State, Newt Gingrich, is expected to have a good night.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
9:03 am
Sat January 21, 2012

With Perry Out, South Carolina Republicans Vote Today

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 8:32 am

The race for the 2012 Republican presidential campaign has been anything but predictable.

It's been the first contest in memory, for instance, with a candidate, Mitt Romney, who was reputedly the inevitable nominee but so suspect in many Republicans' eyes that they kept searching for an alternative. That has led to nearly every candidate in the crowded field, at one time or another, challenging for frontrunner status.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
8:31 am
Tue January 10, 2012

What GOP Candidates Need From New Hampshire

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 7:01 am

If the New Hampshire primary goes as widely expected, Mitt Romney should emerge the winner among the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. For weeks, polls in the state have shown him with a commanding lead.

But the 2012 campaign season has already delivered some surprises. Maybe New Hampshire will provide the latest in the series of unexpected twists?

Read more
It's All Politics
12:30 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Sioux City Debate: GOP Candidates' Last Joint Meeting Before Voting Starts

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:10 am

The Republican presidential debates have mattered more this year than anything else in determining which candidate had the momentum and the lead in the race for the White House nomination.

Thus, Thursday evening's Sioux City, Iowa debate (Fox News, 9 pm ET) could be decisive in narrowing the gap between Newt Gingrich and the rest of the field or cementing his frontrunner status.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
4:04 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Gingrich Hits Romney For Laying Off Workers As CEO

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 1:09 pm

Newt Gingrich demonstrated Monday why it will be such a challenge for Mitt Romney to go negative on the former speaker — Gingrich is like a judo black belt of that political technique. Going negative on him means having your force used against you.

Go no further than how he countered a Romney attack. The former Massachusetts governor said Monday that Gingrich ought to return the money he received from mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
4:25 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Mitt Romney Signals He'll Doff Gloves To Stop Newt Gingrich

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 11:11 am

If Mitt Romney is still to become the Republican presidential nominee, he obviously must figure out how to get past Newt Gingrich's soaring support, that is, unless the former Massachusetts governor is hoping the one-time House speaker will self-destruct.

Gingrich being Gingrich, such an implosion could always happen.

But as we've been reminded many times, hope is not a plan. If Gingrich somehow doesn't derail himself, for Romney to get the nomination, it's obvious he'll need a stop-Gingrich strategy.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
10:41 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Newt Gingrich, GOP Frontrunner, Plays Campaign Cash Catch Up

Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks with a supporter in New York City, Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 10:54 am

When it comes to polls, Newt Gingrich is a strong frontrunner. New surveys in Iowa and South Carolina show him lapping the rest of the Republican presidential field and holding strong double digit leads.

But when it comes to money, the essential for running an effective modern campaign, Gingrich is still not a top-tier candidate.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
4:38 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Ron Paul Campaign Continues Newt Gingrich Smackdown

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 4:11 pm

There was more evidence Monday that Newt Gingrich really rubs Rep. Ron Paul and his campaign aides the wrong way.

Read more
It's All Politics
10:06 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Karl Rove: RNC Should Ban GOP Candidates From Trump Debate

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 8:29 am

Appearing on Meet The Press Sunday, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus said it was up to the GOP presidential candidates themselves to decide whether they should participate at a Dec. 27 debate to be moderated by Donald Trump, the real estate developer, reality show star and world-class egotist.

Read more
2012 Presidential Election
1:09 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Poll: Iowa's GOP Voters Fleeing Herman Cain; Others Still In His Corner

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 10:32 am

Whether Herman Cain is leaning towards staying in or leaving the contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Iowa voters are trying to help him reach a decision by abandoning him.

Read more

Pages