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 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.


2012 Presidential Election
4:22 pm
Fri September 9, 2011

Perry's Social Security Stance Lets Romney Make Electability Argument

Originally published on Fri September 9, 2011 2:47 pm

Social Security must truly have near magical transformative powers if it can make a self-professed conservative almost sound like a liberal.

As we witnessed at Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate Mitt Romney, the former frontrunner for his party's nomination, has determined that Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the present frontrunner, has left himself hugely vulnerable on the Social Security issue. And Romney plans to make him pay.

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2012 Presidential Election
6:32 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Mitt Romney's (Steve) Jobs Plan

Originally published on Tue September 6, 2011 5:27 pm

Was that a jobs plan Mitt Romney unveiled Tuesday or a Steve Jobs plan?

Wanting voters to see him as the political version of the black turtleneck-clad business visionary, Romney compared himself not only to Jobs but to someone using a smartphone (President Obama was still in the coin-operated payphone world, Romney said.)

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2:45 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Rick Perry's Absence At DeMint Forum Sign Of Strength In Key Primary State

GOP presidential candidates in South Carolina Monday.
Stephen Morton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 6, 2011 9:58 am

If Sen. Jim DeMint's Labor Day Republican presidential forum demonstrated anything, it was that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is so confident about winning over South Carolina Tea Party devotees, including the senator, that he could beg off attending the event without any political risk.

Perry, who had been in the Palmetto State, returned home, he said, to be with his citizens as many of them face massive wildfires.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:43 am
Tue August 30, 2011

Rick Perry's Brainpower Questioned; How Smart Should A President Be?

Originally published on Mon August 29, 2011 4:23 pm

The Politico headline was definitely eye-catching: "Is Rick Perry Dumb?"

Twelve years ago if Politico had been around then, it might have asked the same question about another Texas governor who went on to become president, George W. Bush.

And that, of course, is one of the uncanny things about Perry's ascendancy to frontrunner among Republicans vying to become their party's presidential nominee.

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2012 Presidential Election
3:04 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Gallup: Rick Perry Opens 12-Point Lead Over Mitt Romney

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 2:43 pm

There really is a new sheriff in town or, more precisely, frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and he's Texas Gov. Rick Perry who has opened a 29 percent to 17 percent lead over Mitt Romney with Republican voters, according to a new Gallup poll.

Another interesting result: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was in third place with 13 percent, clearly placing him in the vaunted top tier. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was in fourth place at 10 percent.

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2012 Presidential Election
2:39 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Romney Skips S. Carolina Forum As Perry Courts Evangelicals

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 2:10 pm

Mitt Romney signaled Wednesday that he doesn't see South Carolina as key to the presidential nomination. His campaign said he won't attend Sen. Jim DeMint's South Carolina Labor Day forum for presidential candidates.

A Romney spokesman cited scheduling conflicts. But by not attending the South Carolina event, Romney fuels speculation that his strategy may be to invest significantly less of himself in the Palmetto State than he did in 2008.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:53 pm
Sat August 20, 2011

Rick Perry's YouTube Moments Are A Rival Admaker's Dream

Originally published on Fri August 19, 2011 1:39 pm

Has there ever been a presidential candidate who has provided as many video possibilities for negative ads to his political rivals as Texas Gov. Rick Perry?

Just from the current week, there's of course the video from Iowa of his remarks in which he threatened Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and his comments on global warming and evolution in New Hampshire. Again, that was just this week.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:48 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Perry To Boy: Evolution 'A Theory' With 'Gaps'; Equates It To Creationism

Texas Gov. Rick Perry at Popovers on the Square in Portsmouth, NH, August 18, 2011.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 18, 2011 9:47 am

A day after he publicly questioned the science supporting the expert consensus that human activity contributes to global warming, Texas Gov. Rick Perry stuck a skeptical tone about evolution in response to a child's question.

NPR's Ari Shapiro who was covering Perry's campaign Thursday, reports that during the Texas governor's visit to Popovers coffee shop in downtown Portsmouth, a boy asked the Republican seeking his party's presidential nomination how old the world is.

Perry replied:

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2012 Presidential Election
4:46 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

George W. Bush Impersonator Considering (Short) Leap To Rick Perry

Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 4:31 pm

While many Americans may be somewhat alarmed, for various reasons, at the thought of Texas Gov. Rick Perry gaining the White House, don't count at least one George W. Bush impersonator among them.

All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel talked with John Morgan of Orlando, Fla., a comic and Bush impersonator for whom Perry is like the answer to a prayer.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:55 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Ron Paul Wears Invisibility Cloak In News Media's Eyes

Originally published on Tue August 16, 2011 3:48 pm

Busted. That's what we in the news media are in the matter of the presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Famous and not so famous critics have pointed out in the past day that journalists for the most part have ignored Paul even when he succeeds at a level other Republican presidential candidates haven't.

As far as many political reporters have been concerned, the congressman might as well be wearing one of those Harry Potter invisibility cloaks. He's there but we apparently can't see him.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:53 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Perry Stirs Firestorm By Accusing Fed Chair Bernanke Of Near Treason

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Aug. 15, 2011.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 9:56 am

Texas Gov. Rick Perry only officially entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination Saturday and already by Tuesday he was raising plenty of eyebrows with his warning that he would consider it an act of treason if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke took further extraordinary steps to boost the sagging economy.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:56 am
Tue August 16, 2011

Ron Paul Campaign Ad Calls Him 'The One.' Sound Familiar?

Originally published on Tue August 16, 2011 10:27 am

Fresh off his strong second place finish in Iowa's Ames Straw Poll, Ron Paul has a new campaign ad called "The One" in which he is portrayed as an entirely different type of leader than the"smooth-talking politicians" he's competing against for the presidency.

Done in the form of a movie trailer, the highly polished ad begins:

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12:46 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Perry and Bachmann Make (And Lose) Friends In Iowa

Originally published on Mon August 15, 2011 11:49 am

Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry were both in Waterloo, IA, Sunday night at the Black Hawk County Republican dinner and it sounds like they both left some Iowans impressed, others not quite.

It sounds like Bachmann may have even hurt herself with some Iowans by sweeping into the room as though she were already president, according to a report in

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11:24 am
Fri August 12, 2011

Iowa Debate Leaves Romney Unscathed As Bachmann, Pawlenty, Others Rumble

Originally published on Fri August 12, 2011 12:28 am

The front-runner for a major party's presidential nomination is always happiest when his intraparty rivals turn their attacks on each other instead of him.

So by that measure, Mitt Romney had to be very pleased indeed because he was left largely unmolested by the seven other Republican candidates contending for the party's presidential nomination at the debate at Iowa State University Thursday evening.

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10:57 am
Fri June 24, 2011

Rick Perry Tequila Joke Bombs Before Latino Audience

Originally published on Fri June 24, 2011 11:37 am

Texas Gov. Rick Perry wasn't exactly appearing before a simpatico audience to start with when he showed up to talk to the San Antonio meeting of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.

After all, he has supported new legislation mandating photo ID to vote and that would require law enforcement officers in sanctuary cities to do immigration checks during police stops.

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It's All Politics
2:33 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

Indiana's Democratic Lawmakers Imitate Wisconsin, Flee State

Originally published on Tue February 22, 2011 2:30 pm

The Democratic "flu" (or should it be "flew?") is spreading.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Democrats in the Indiana state house have decamped the state to avoid voting on anti-union legislation just like their fellow Democrats in Wisconsin.

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