James Oliphant

James Oliphant James Oliphant has covered politics, government, and legal affairs for most of his journalism career. Before joining National Journal, he was a correspondent covering the 2012 presidential campaign for the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, and also worked as a congressional and legal affairs reporter for those newspapers.
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Paralyzed by Ukraine, Dumbfounded by Russia

February 23, 2015 The sluggish disintegration of a weak peace deal in Ukraine has come as nothing less than a blessing for President Obama. It has helped mask his administration's inability to determine the best response to the crisis, and to Russia. But this respite will not last. Given the events on the...

Obama Defiant After Judge Blocks Immigration Order

February 18, 2015 The White House was defiant Tuesday in the face of a Texas federal judge's order that suspended—at least temporarily—President Obama's sweeping executive action on immigration. "This is not the first time where a lower-court judge has blocked something or attempted to block something that ultimately is going to be lawful,...

White House Clarifies Obama Comments on Paris Kosher Deli Terror

February 11, 2015 t has not been a great couple of days for President Obama—at least rhetorically. Obama administration officials hurriedly walked back responses Tuesday to questions about the president's choice of words describing last month's attack on a kosher deli in Paris that killed four. In an interview with Vox released Monday,...

Obama's New National Security Strategy Could Force Clinton to Take a Hard Line

February 8, 2015 President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, outlined a foreign policy blueprint Friday for the president's remaining time in office. It's big on nuance, patience, and team-building, short on near-term solutions—and potentially a headache for the next Democratic presidential nominee. Rice's remarks, which were part of the rollout of a...

Wednesday's Paris Attack Is an Assault on American Values

January 7, 2015 If a bleary-eyed America, still finding its second gear after the holidays, needed a fresh reminder that a global war continues to rage mostly away from its shores, it came early Wednesday morning with news of a daylight assault on a Paris newspaper office that killed at least 12, including...

2015 Will Be a Year of Reaction for the President

January 5, 2015 President Obama began last year vowing to use his pen to get things done. He opens this one pledging to wield it to stop legislation in its tracks. The difference is the new Republican Congress. It throws the president, for his final two years in office, into the role of...

Barack Obama Had a Really Terrible Year

December 30, 2014 You can make a compelling case that 2014 was the worst year for President Obama since, well, the year before. And, in fact, the president spent much of this year trying to recover from some body blows he took in the final months of 2013, when, in short order, Congress...

Joe Biden Comes to Fix Fissures Between Obama and Republicans

December 12, 2014 Democrats' dramatic loss of the Senate in November may have made one of their own an unlikely winner—Joe Biden. But it remains to be seen whether the White House will let him off the bench and into the game. The vice president sits in a unique position to serve as...

The Torture Report Isn't Going to Stand Between the President and the CIA

December 10, 2014 The government on Tuesday formally washed its hands of the dark days after 2001, when the Bush administration and Central Intelligence Agency went to extreme lengths to prevent another traumatizing attack. The declassified, redacted report by the Senate Intelligence Committee relates, at times in sickening detail, the abusive practices used...

Despite Torture Report, Obama Is Standing By the CIA

December 9, 2014 The government on Tuesday formally washed its hands of the dark days after 2001, when the Bush administration and Central Intelligence Agency went to extreme lengths to prevent another traumatizing attack. The declassified, redacted report by the Senate Intelligence Committee relates, at times in sickening detail, the abusive practices used...

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