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
2:56 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

5 Takeaways From Obama's Susan Rice Appointment

President Obama's choice of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as his next national security adviser is one way of reminding his conservative foes he can still confound them.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 3:42 pm

It wasn't exactly a surprise to hear that President Obama named U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as his next national security adviser.

Almost as soon as it became clear that her role in the administration's Benghazi talking-points snafu meant Senate Republicans would never let her be confirmed as secretary of state if Obama nominated her, the possibility of her taking over from Tom Donilon as Obama's top national security aide was frequently mentioned.

Still, speculation is one thing; an actual appointment, another. So what to make of Rice's appointment?

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It's All Politics
6:46 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Christie Finesses Challenge Created By Senate Vacancy

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens to a question during his news conference Tuesday in Trenton, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 7:12 pm

Only time will tell how well New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie finessed a decision that seemed to pit his personal interests against those of the broader public.

But by calling an Oct. 16 special election to replace the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, it appears the governor took the most politically advantageous option available to him.

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It's All Politics
7:31 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Why The IRS Scandal Is Built To Last

Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller (right) and J. Russell George, a Treasury inspector general, take the oath before testifying on before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 8:41 pm

Of all the controversies swirling around the Obama White House, the Internal Revenue Service scandal seems likeliest to have the longest shelf life.

While the Benghazi affair has long been in the news, it's never really taken off as an issue beyond the Republican base.

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It's All Politics
5:19 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

10 Things We Learned From the IRS Inspector General Report

The John Weld Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati, where many of the missteps by IRS workers who targeted conservative groups occurred.
Al Behrman AP

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 6:29 pm

Scintillating isn't how you'd describe the report issued by the Treasury inspector general's report on the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups.

It was written, after all, by government bureaucrats for government bureaucrats. Enough said.

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It's All Politics
7:09 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

IRS's Tea Party Scrutiny Adds To Conservatives' Case Against Obama

An Internal Revenue Service official apologized for workers who targeted certain conservative groups. But that did little to defuse the situation.
Susan Walsh AP

Benghazi move over, make room for IRS-gate.

As if the Obama administration's conservative critics didn't have enough fodder with last year's attacks on a U.S. Consulate that killed four Americans, now comes Friday's startling revelation that Internal Revenue Service workers between 2010 and 2012 singled out groups with "Tea Party" and "Patriots" in their name for extra scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status.

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It's All Politics
5:08 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Both Sides Hopeful In Last Hours Of Sanford, Colbert Busch Race

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and her Republican opponent, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, debate in Charleston, S.C., on April 29.
Randall Hill Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:58 pm

Updated at 9:29 pm ET --- Former South Carolina Republican governor Mark Sanford easily beat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch to regain the House seat he once held.

For Sanford, the victory in the strongly Republican 1st Congressional District was sure to be widely viewed as a personal redemption. Sanford left the governor's mansion in 2009 after an extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman who is now his fiancee led to the breakup of his marriage.

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It's All Politics
5:41 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Ayotte Becoming Gun Control Lightning Rod

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., has drawn the focus of gun control proponents for voting against a bid to expand criminal background checks for gun buyers.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:37 pm

Of the senators who have become lightning rods for voting against expanded criminal background checks for gun buyers, New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte is drawing the most bolts.

Video of Ayotte being questioned by the daughter of the principal killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., has gone viral.

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It's All Politics
6:13 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Obama's Bush Library Speech Leaves Iraq And More Unspoken

President Obama and former President George W. Bush at the dedication of the George W. Bush library in Dallas.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:36 pm

Imagine having to deliver a tribute for someone you've openly excoriated for years.

That was essentially the task President Obama had before him Thursday in his speech at the dedication ceremony for former President George W. Bush's Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.

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It's All Politics
5:58 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Giffords Group's Radio Ads Hit McConnell, Ayotte On Gun Vote

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, at an April 16 ceremony naming a Capitol Hill conference room for her aide Gabe Zimmerman. Zimmerman died in the same Tucson, Ariz., shootings that Giffords wounded.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

After the Senate failed to pass bipartisan legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases, the superPAC created by shooting victim and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, onetime astronaut Mark Kelly, vowed to remind voters of which lawmakers voted against the plan.

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It's All Politics
6:45 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Budget Cuts Delay Flights But Not Fingerpointing

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and fellow GOP senators accused the Obama administration of creating a "manufactured crisis" by furloughing FAA air traffic controllers and causing delayed flights.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 11:02 am

Blame shifting was in high gear Tuesday on Capitol Hill and at the White House as the first air traffic delays tied to the furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration controllers began to get attention.

The Republicans' message: Delays at some airports this week — a result of automatic spending cuts known as the sequester that took effect in March, but whose resulting furloughs are just kicking in — was a "manufactured crisis," and that the administration wants voters angry enough to force Congress to give President Obama the higher taxes he seeks.

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It's All Politics
6:31 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Obama Uses And Loses Political Capital On Gun Control

Mark Barden, the father of a young Newtown, Conn., shooting victim, speaks at a White House news conference on Wednesday, with President Obama and former Rep. Gabby Giffords. Obama denounced the Senate's defeat of a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers. "This was a pretty shameful day in Washington," he said.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:53 pm

The Senate's rejection of more robust gun purchase background checks was a stinging blow to President Obama that raised questions about his second-term agenda.

Expanding background checks had become a key part of Obama's post-Newtown push for tougher federal gun control laws. And in recent weeks, the president had campaigned for overall gun control legislation — especially the bipartisan background-check compromise — with a sense of urgency.

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It's All Politics
6:11 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Tiny Group Linked To McConnell Recording Causes Big Stir

Sen. Mitch McConnell and his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, at a Republican dinner in Winchester, Ky., last month.
Roger Alford AP

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 7:19 am

So who exactly comprises Progress Kentucky, the superPAC linked to the surreptitious recording of a meeting at Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign headquarters? In the recording, an aide is heard disparaging actress Ashley Judd, who was then considering a Senate run to challenge the Senate's top Republican.

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It's All Politics
2:44 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Blacks' Election-Day Waits Nearly Double Those Of Whites, But Why?

People stood in line to vote on Election Day 2012 at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center in Apex, N.C.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 3:11 pm

On Election Day 2012, black voters waited on average nearly twice as long to vote as did white voters, while the wait time for Hispanic voters fell in between those two groups.

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It's All Politics
5:07 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Sen. Landrieu's First GOP Rival Sets In Motion Key 2014 Contest

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. (right), poses with his family and House Speaker John Boehner at the start of the new Congress, on Jan. 3. On Wednesday, Cassidy announced that he would challenge Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 5:44 pm

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, considered among the most vulnerable of the Senate's red-state Democrats facing 2014 re-election, now has at least one potential Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, whose congressional district includes Baton Rouge.

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It's All Politics
5:38 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Reality Often Rivals Fiction In Political Corruption Scandals

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara outlines corruption charges against several New York politicians on Tuesday.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 6:22 pm

The federal criminal complaint against New York politicians arrested after an FBI sting was a reminder of how often real-life political scandals can read like the imaginings of Hollywood screenwriters.

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