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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Politics
5:35 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Red State Democrats Tread Lightly On Hobby Lobby Ruling

When it comes to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn must navigate between her state's conservative electorate and her national party.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 10:28 am

For the typical Democrat running in 2014, frequent condemnation of the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby decision is a no-brainer as a rallying cry to raise money and energize voters — especially women.

Monday's ruling allows family-owned and other closely held companies to opt out of the federal health law's contraception mandate if they have religious objections.

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Politics
2:47 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Stunt Or Not, GOP Lawsuit Against Obama Will Fuel Both Sides

House Republicans argue the illegality of executive action signings, like one in April 2014 in which President Obama acted to close the gender compensation gap among federal contractors.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 9:54 am

There might not be much legislation traveling down Pennsylvania Avenue for President Obama to sign, but there's plenty of back and forth over the president's use of executive power to act when Congress doesn't.

Week's end found Obama dismissing a lawsuit threatened by Speaker John Boehner, who alleges the president is violating the Constitution by exercising this often controversial power.

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It's All Politics
9:03 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Pew's Latest Look At Voters Finds Many Who Defy Party Labels

Some voters are a lot more complicated than is commonly understood, a new Pew Research Center study suggests. In Denver, an election worker collects a mail-in ballot from a voter on Tuesday.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 7:04 pm

Following up on its recent report on the ever-widening ideological gulf between Americans, the Pew Research Center unveiled its latest sorting of voters into categories based, in part, on the relative strength or weakness of their partisan attachments.

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Politics
3:22 am
Sat June 14, 2014

4 Takeaways From Hillary Clinton's 'Fresh Air' Interview

Hillary Clinton promotes her new book, Hard Choices, in Chicago on Wednesday. The former senator and secretary of state had a lively and much-talked-about chat this week with Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Stacy Thacker AP

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 9:28 pm

So when exactly did Hillary Clinton change her mind on same-sex marriage? That question was left unanswered in the former secretary of state's lively exchange with Fresh Air host Terry Gross.

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Environment
11:58 am
Tue June 3, 2014

New EPA Rules Burn Red State Democrats

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy during her announcement Monday of a plan to limit power plant greenhouse gases.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:48 pm

While many on the left embraced the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules to reduce coal-burning power plant carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, some red state Democrats couldn't put enough distance between themselves and the Obama administration.

You would have had a tough time, for instance, distinguishing the reaction of Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes from that of the man she hopes to replace, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate's top Republican.

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Politics
9:35 am
Thu May 22, 2014

In Kentucky, An Epic Senate Race Takes Shape

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic nominee for a Senate seat from Kentucky, talks with recent college graduate Lee Fowler during a May 17 campaign stop.
Timothy D. Easley AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 2:01 pm

It says something about Kentucky's Republican Senate primary that its most memorable aspect wasn't some fiery debate exchange between Sen. Mitch McConnell and challenger Matt Bevin, or any kind of clash like that. There was no debate.

Instead, it was a weird viral Web video from the Senate minority leader's campaign that featured him smiling in different contexts. Naturally it was one endlessly mocked by late-night comedians and parodied on the Web — it also led to the coining of a new word: "McConnelling."

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Politics
11:34 am
Wed May 21, 2014

McConnell Wins Big Over Tea Party Challenger In Kentucky

Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, left, and his wife Elaine Chao, center, talk with poll workers at their precinct Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky.
Timothy D. Easley AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:53 am

Updated at 11:07 pm ET

What some called the Super Tuesday of the 2014 mid-term election cycle, with six states holding nominating contests, began with a big win for the Republican establishment.

In Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell's smack-down of Tea Party-backed businessman Matt Bevin in the GOP primary was an emphatic victory for the five-term senator, who made this bold prediction about other Tea Party-backed Senate challengers earlier this year: "We're going to crush them everywhere."

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It's All Politics
4:44 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 5:58 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
2:22 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

A Viewer's Guide To Obama's Syria Speech

President Obama walks toward the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:14 pm

If ever a speech seemed to be President Obama's last, best chance to win public and congressional support for his plan to launch military strikes against Syria, it's his prime-time talk to the nation Tuesday.

With polls indicating that 60 percent of Americans oppose action against Syria for using sarin gas and congressional approval looking ever more like a long shot, Obama's speech is a high-stakes endeavor.

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It's All Politics
10:12 am
Tue July 23, 2013

McConnell's Challenge: Deal-Making Without Fingerprints

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate minority leader, may have previewed his below-the-radar approach to future negotiations with Democrats during the recent filibuster fight.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 8:14 pm

It appears that it's just a matter of days before it becomes official that Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate's top Republican, will be forced into a primary by a Louisville businessman with Tea Party backing.

The news that Matthew Bevin, owner of a bell-manufacturing company and an investment company executive, intends to soon announce his effort to oust McConnell is interesting because it appears to place McConnell in something of a bind.

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