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
5:49 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Stubbornly, Manchin Maintains Optimism On Background Checks

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., meets in his office last week with families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. A bipartisan plan to expand background checks for gun buyers was defeated Wednesday in the Senate.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who lent his name to bipartisan legislation that would have extended background checks for gun purchasers to gun shows and online sales, isn't letting go.

At least not yet.

To Manchin, the bipartisan compromise he co-sponsored with Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican of consistent conservative credentials, fell victim to a steady stream of misinformation spread by some gun rights absolutists, including the National Rifle Association.

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It's All Politics
9:37 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Gun Fight Didn't End Too Soon For House GOP, Some Democrats

Jennifer Longdon, who survived gun violence but was left a paraplegic, wiped away tears at an April 19, 2013 protest at Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake's Phoenix office.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 5:07 pm

It was inevitable that each side of the gun debate would accuse the other of playing politics — especially after the failure this week of legislation to expand background checks to gun shows and Internet sales.

And, to some extent, they're both right, as politics are never too far away from the surface of any controversial Washington policy debate.

House Republicans were the clear political beneficiaries of the Senate's rejection of the bipartisan background check bill.

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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
7:30 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Obama's 'Terrorism' Description Follows Cautious First Words

President Obama leaves the White House briefing room Tuesday after making a statement about the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

On Monday, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and some others made a point of highlighting President Obama's failure to use the words "terror" or "terrorism" in his first remarks following the Boston Marathon bombings.

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It's All Politics
5:44 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Background Checks Bill Gains Backers On And Off Capitol Hill

Newly made AR-15 rifles at Stag Arms in New Britain, Conn., last Wednesday.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 6:38 pm

The Senate was due on Tuesday to take up legislation embodying the bipartisan compromise reached by two senators, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey.

The effort to extend background checks to weapons purchases at gun shows and online received a boost over the weekend when an important gun rights group, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, announced its support for the measure.

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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
11:39 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Heat On Capitol Hill As Immigration, Guns, Budget Converge

Jissela Centeno and son, Matthew Pineda, hold an American flag at a rally for immigration reform at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 8:56 pm

On an April day in Washington that felt more like a dog day in August due to temperatures spiking into the 90s, the heat on Capitol Hill wasn't just thermal but political.

There was very visible political heat in the form of thousands of people who came to march on and rally in front of Congress as part of their push for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.

There was also heat in the form of activity and rhetoric on gun control and the federal budget.

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It's All Politics
12:02 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Obama's Budget: What To Expect

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 12:35 pm

The release of President Obama's proposed fiscal 2014 federal budget on Wednesday morning may seem a little anticlimactic. After all, we learned last week about its big news, the president's controversial idea of reducing Social Security payments to help reduce the deficit.

But even a budget that's going nowhere gives a president the chance to state priorities and place dollar amounts next to them.

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It's All Politics
2:46 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
5:36 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Obama Riles His Own Party With Social Security Offer

President Obama prepares to depart San Francisco on Thursday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 6:11 pm

Few things indicate a president no longer needs to worry about re-election more than his willingness to ignite an intraparty firestorm.

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