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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1:34am

Wed January 29, 2014
It's All Politics

5 Things We Learned From The President's Speech

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 8:21 am

President Obama delivers his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Larry Downing Reuters/Landov

Much of what was in President Obama's fifth State of the Union address was expected — it was signaled for days leading into the speech. Even so, there were a few revealing moments.

Here are five that stood out:

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6:49am

Tue January 28, 2014
It's All Politics

5 Things To Expect In Obama's State Of The Union Address

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 1:35 pm

President Obama gestures to Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner before giving his 2013 State of the Union address.
Charles Dharapak AP

As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, he does it against a backdrop of some of the lowest voter-approval ratings of his presidency, with a divided Congress that has largely stalled his second-term agenda and with Washington's collective focus starting to shift toward the midterm elections and beyond.

Here are five things to expect from the president in his fifth State of the Union speech:

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3:13pm

Tue January 21, 2014
It's All Politics

Obama's Marijuana Remarks Light Up Legalization Debate

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 4:50 pm

President Obama graces the cover of Cannabis Now magazine at the HempCon medical marijuana show, May 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

That President Obama could openly speculate about marijuana being less dangerous than alcohol — and embrace the state-level legalization of the drug — is a measure of just how far the nation has moved since the 1980s.

Back then, the Reagan administration's approach was absolute: "Just Say No." It's more complicated today.

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5:01pm

Fri January 17, 2014
It's All Politics

Congress Vows To Step Up To Surveillance Policy Challenge

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., after President Obama's speech.
Charles Dharapak AP

If there was a consensus emanating from Congress Friday after President Obama's NSA reform speech, it was — not surprisingly — that Congress itself has a major role to play in the ultimate fix.

Whether from strong NSA supporters or agency critics, the reactions sounded similar: Congress intends to do much of the steering in the drive to overhaul the NSA's gathering of certain non-public information, especially consumer phone records, in the nation's counterterrorism efforts.

Even so, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of politics in some of the reaction.

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3:36pm

Thu January 16, 2014
It's All Politics

For Obama And Senate Democrats, The Goal Is Mutual Protection

Senate Democrats at the White House last fall during the government shutdown fight.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

For President Obama and Senate Democrats, who gathered in a White House meeting Wednesday, it's all about mutual aid at this point.

If Obama is to maintain any leverage in Congress, he needs Democrats to keep control of the Senate since the House appears likely to remain in Republican hands. And if his second term agenda has any hope of being achieved — such as tackling income inequality, overhauling immigration or reaching a durable nuclear deal with Iran — he'll need a Democratic Senate majority working side-by-side with him.

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