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.

Pages

It's All Politics
3:13 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

Health Law's 4th Birthday Divides Democrats, Unites GOP On Message

As the Affordable Care Act's fourth anniversary approached, Democrats were less unified in their message than Republicans.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:49 pm

With the fourth anniversary of President Obama's signing of the Affordable Care Act this weekend, if you were a Democrat boasting about the health law, you were more than likely a party official or lawmaker with a seat so safe you could publicly celebrate the occasion.

Like Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat who in 2012 beat her Republican opponent by nearly 30 points, scheduling an enrollment event at a Chicago community college Saturday and inviting the news media.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:01 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

With Wind At Its Back, GOP Expands 2014 Senate Map

Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner officially announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate at Denver Lumber Co. on March 1. Gardner will run against Democratic incumbent Mark Udall.
Chris Schneider AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 7:49 am

Republicans seem to have all the momentum lately when it comes to the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

GOP chances were already looking brighter because of the drag on Democrats from the Affordable Care Act and President Obama's low approval ratings. Then came two developments that suddenly expanded the playing field: Former GOP Sen. Scott Brown recently announced his intent to run against New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and GOP Rep. Cory Gardner jumped in against Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

Read more
It's All Politics
10:30 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

GOP's Health Law Alternative Could Be Messy As Obamacare

First lady Michelle Obama at an Affordable Care Act event in March.
Luis M. Alvarez AP

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 7:22 pm

Ever since Republicans began using the words "repeal and replace" back in 2010 to describe their intentions for the Affordable Care Act, they've faced a question: What, exactly, would they replace it with?

While there's currently no clear Republican alternative for the health care law, President Obama's signature domestic achievement, the House Republican leadership is signaling there will be one this year.

Read more
It's All Politics
9:57 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Breakthrough On Jobless Benefits May Lead To Blind Alley

Republican senators Rob Portman (left), Dean Heller and Susan Collins worked with a bipartisan group to reach a deal to extend long-term jobless benefits for five months.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 6:49 pm

The bipartisan agreement in the Senate over a five-month extension of federal unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless may seem like a breakthrough.

But for Sister Marge Clark, senior lobbyist for NETWORK — a national Catholic social justice lobby that welcomes the news, the fact that the agreement is seen as a progress shows just how far the political situation in Washington has deteriorated.

Read more
It's All Politics
5:47 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Obama's Foreign Policy: More Second-Term Misses Than Hits

Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions are beyond President Obama's control, something that holds true for most of the foreign policy issues vexing the U.S. president's second term.
Sergei Ilnitsky AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 6:43 pm

Second-term presidents who find their ability to shape domestic affairs limited by congressional constraints often view foreign policy as the arena in which they can post some successes.

Ronald Reagan had his second-term breakthrough with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union's general secretary. Bill Clinton had the U.S. lead its NATO allies into taking military action against the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic. Much further back in time, Woodrow Wilson successfully negotiated the League of Nations Treaty (though he couldn't win Senate passage for it).

Read more
It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

3 Lessons From Obama's Failed Justice Department Nomination

The specter of failure is often enough to get the White House and Senate leaders to punt on a nomination. But not in the case of Debo Adegbile.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:13 am

Now that the smoke has cleared from Debo Adegbile's failed nomination Wednesday to head the Justice Department's civil rights division, there are some lessons to draw from that Democratic debacle.

Why was it a disaster? Seven Democrats defected from their party to vote against Obama's nominee. The nomination had been opposed by police groups because of Adegbile's indirect role in the appeals process for Mumia Abu Jamal, a death-row inmate convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.

Here are three things we learned from the vote.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:05 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Clintons Provide Firepower Behind DNC 'Voter Expansion Project'

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton huddle under an umbrella during inaugural ceremonies for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Richmond on Jan. 11.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:54 pm

Democrats believe they've discovered a way to play more offense against Republican efforts that have had the effect of making it harder for many voters — especially young, senior and minority citizens — to cast their ballots.

Their answer: a new initiative, announced by the Democratic National Committee at its winter meeting in Washington, aimed at countering voter ID and other laws and practices that can dampen voting.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:37 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

FCC Won't Ask Journalists To Explain Themselves After All

Critics told Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler his agency's proposed news media study would threaten press freedom.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 8:59 pm

It may not be in full retreat, but the Federal Communications Commission certainly seemed to be in a major strategic withdrawal from a plan that has caused a political firestorm: a study that would have asked journalists and media owners how they decide what is and isn't news.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:46 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Will Democrats Change Their Health Law Message After Florida Loss?

Democrats may have lost the battle in a Florida special election, which Republican Rep. David Jolly (right) won and in which the Affordable Care Act figured prominently. But they don't think they have lost the health-law messaging war.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:35 am

Congressional Democrats' messaging on the Affordable Care Act obviously didn't work as they had hoped in the Florida special election for a vacant House seat, since Republican David Jolly won the Tuesday vote.

But does that mean Democrats should abandon the "fix it, don't nix" it message delivered by Democrat Alex Sink, who narrowly lost a race that Republicans sought to nationalize and turn into a referendum on the health law?

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., certainly isn't saying so.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:41 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Feinstein's CIA Outrage Splits Senate

Sen. Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA publicly and at length of hacking Senate computers to spy on Senate aides and remove documents.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 12:07 am

The Senate was a chamber divided in reaction to Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein's diatribe against the CIA for allegedly hacking into Senate computers.

A no-nonsense Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, took to the Senate floor Tuesday to speak at length and publicly for the first time about a dispute with the agency.

Read more

Pages