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
10:36 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Presidential Apologies: Regrets, They Have A Few

President Obama walks from the White House to Marine One on Friday. In an interview Thursday with NBC News, he apologized for breaking a promise regarding the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 11:31 am

Now that President Obama has apologized to those who've seen their health care plans canceled due to the Affordable Care Act, losses he pledged beforehand wouldn't happen, he joins the line of modern presidents who have had to look the American people in the eye and give their regrets.

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It's All Politics
11:25 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Bill De Blasio Wins New York City Mayoral Election

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio with his daughter Chiara and son Dante as he talks to the media in Brooklyn after voting, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 8:17 pm

Democrat Bill de Blasio won the New York City mayor's race, defeating Republican Joseph Lhota. He became the first Democrat to win the office since 1989.

The Associated Press declared de Blasio the winner about 45 minutes after the city's polls closed at 9 pm ET. De Blasio had what appeared to be an insurmountable lead in polls heading into Election Day.

The election of de Blasio, an unabashed liberal, marked a definitive end of the Mayor Michael Bloomberg era.

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It's All Politics
11:25 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Democrat Terry McAuliffe Wins Virginia Governor's Race

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe leaves Spring Hill Elementary School after voting, accompanied by his daughter Mary and wife Dorothy.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 11:27 pm

Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the hotly contested Virginia governor's race, defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who was supported by the Tea Party.

The race turned out to be far closer than polls heading into Election Day indicated. That suggested that voter turnout may have failed to reach the levels Democrats had hoped to achieve and that the Affordable Care Act may have hurt the Democratic effort.

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It's All Politics
11:24 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Gov. Chris Christie Wins Re-Election In N.J.

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with wife, Mary Pat Christie, after they voted.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 8:16 pm

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won re-election to a second term.

The Associated Press projected Christie, a Republican, the winner over Democrat Barbara Buono shortly after the polls closed in New Jersey at 8 pm ET.

While a big win by Christie was expected for months with polls showing him with a commanding lead, the victory nevertheless provides a springboard for a potential 2016 presidential run.

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It's All Politics
2:48 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

White House Turns To 'Rock Star' Manager For Obamacare Fix

Jeffrey Zients was tapped to help fix problems with the Obama administration's heath care website.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 3:58 pm

Jeffrey Zients isn't exactly a household name. But if he can cure what ails the Affordable Care Act website, he'll be one of the best-known figures in the Obama administration.

Zients (rhymes with Heinz) is the professional manager President Obama turned to in order to solve the by-now-infamous problems with the federal government's health care exchange website.

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It's All Politics
4:29 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Shutdown Diary: Paul Ryan's Plan Gets Tea Party Pushback

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., offered a path forward in the fiscal stalemate, but Tea Party hard-liners weren't impressed.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 4:13 pm

Are House Republicans still seeking Democratic concessions on the Affordable Care Act? Or have they switched their sights to even bigger targets: federal spending on entitlements like Medicare and Social Security?

The answer on Wednesday depended on which Republican you asked.

Paul Ryan's Pitch

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It's All Politics
4:38 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Countdown To Shutdown: A Closure Appears Inevitable

As the sun started its descent behind the U.S. Capitol building on Monday, it seemed virtually certain to rise on a partially shuttered federal government.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 4:30 pm

Monday's Highlights:

Only hours before a partial shutdown of the federal government would take effect, House Republicans still hadn't arrived at a temporary spending bill that Senate Democrats were willing to approve to keep government workers on the job. A closure appeared inevitable.

On Monday afternoon, Senate Democrats rejected a stopgap spending bill passed by the House over the weekend because it contained anti-Obamacare measures that Democrats found objectionable.

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It's All Politics
5:46 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Countdown To Shutdown: Obama Says 'Gears Of Our Economy' At Risk

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:25 pm

Friday's highlights:

As expected, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed its own version of a short-term spending bill. It's the version the House approved last week, minus language that would defund Obamacare. That effectively tossed the ball back to the Republican-controlled House.

And President Obama warned House Republicans to avoid the twin disruptions of a government shutdown (at midnight Monday) and a debt default (in mid-October).

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It's All Politics
9:41 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Countdown To Shutdown: The Ted Cruz Show Comes To A Close

Democratic Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan visited with mothers and babies at a Capitol Hill Obamacare event Wednesday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 4:08 pm

Wednesday's Highlights

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz ended his marathon Senate floor speech at noon when his appointed time ran out.

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It's All Politics
3:52 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Congress Looks Beyond Syria To Its Next Fight

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (right) leads members of Congress as they step outside the Capitol on Wednesday to attend a ceremony in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With him are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:18 pm

Now that Congress' extraordinary Syria debate is on hold, at least for now, the next upcoming drama is really a return to much more familiar territory: how will congressional leaders get enough votes to pass legislation to keep the government from going off yet another metaphorical cliff.

Until Wednesday, it looked like Congress was moving toward a vote this week to fund the government past September, when the fiscal year ends, and into December — thus avoiding a shutdown. But that vote was postponed until next week at the earliest.

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It's All Politics
3:21 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Opponents of Syria Strikes Gain Edge In Lobbying Fight

President Obama answers a question regarding the situation in Syria during his news conference at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 3:35 am

The interest groups opposed to U.S. military strikes against Syria had a very good week. That made it a very bad week for President Obama and those who support his plans.

Anna Galland, executive director of the liberal MoveOn.org — which opposes military action in Syria — said that by midweek, her group's members reported making 10,000 calls to Congress, contributing to an avalanche of calls from citizens opposed to military strikes.

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It's All Politics
4:53 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

What If Congress Votes 'No' On Syria?

President Obama attends a White House meeting on Syria Tuesday with congressional leaders.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 4:30 pm

With Republican House leaders lining up behind President Obama's planned U.S. military strike on Syria, the chances for congressional authorization seemed higher on Tuesday than they did over the weekend.

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It's All Politics
8:04 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Something Was Missing From The March On Washington Anniversary

President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton at the March on Washington 50th anniversary celebration.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:54 am

If Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had seen 50 years into the future, he might have been tempted to add "Democrats and Republicans" to the historically antagonistic pairings — "black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics" — who, in his "I Have A Dream" speech, would one day hold hands and sing, "Free at last."

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It's All Politics
3:41 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

For Obama, Outrage Over Syria Is The Easy Part

A young girl receives treatment at a makeshift hospital in Damascus, Syria, after a suspected chemical weapons attack by the military.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:25 pm

The present Syrian crisis ranks among the most vexing moments of President Obama's presidency.

The recent heart-rending images of Syrian civilians, many of them young children apparently killed by chemical weapons used by the government of Bashar Assad, have raised the volume on calls for the president to act.

But while there's a clarity to the outrage itself, for Obama things quickly get murky.

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It's All Politics
4:59 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Why The Immigration Fight Seems Like The NBA Finals

The final outcome of the congressional fight over immigration will be as unpredictable as the result of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 3:57 pm

Maybe Game 6 of the NBA Finals has something to teach us about how to watch the immigration debate now taking place in Congress.

Game 6, of course, was the instant sports classic in which the defending champion Miami Heat made an improbable comeback to tie their series with the San Antonio Spurs, three games apiece.

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