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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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Obama's Real Job: Fundraiser in Chief

April 16, 2014 Campaigns are about numbers, so here are a few: After two separate recent events in Houston, President Obama has attended 373 fundraisers during his five-plus years in office. That's just about one every five days or so. Assuming he speaks for close to 15 minutes at each event, that's well ...

Will Obama End the War on Terror?

February 28, 2014 Joint Special Operations Command launched four Hellfire missiles into a convoy in central Yemen in December, killing 12 people. U.S. officials initially claimed they were targeting Shawqi Ali Ahmad al-Badani, an alleged Qaida operative, and even Human Rights Watch acknowledged that some terrorists may have been present. But last week, ...

Obama's Former Budget Ace Fights to Hide His Finances

February 27, 2014 Peter Orszag, the president's former budget director, cashed out in a big way when he ditched government service for a plum job at Citigroup. But he doesn't want the world to know how big. Orszag is battling a host of media organizations, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, ...

Remember the IRS Tea-Party Scandal? Get Ready for Round Two

February 6, 2014 Notably absent in President Obama's recent can-do talk about executive action has been a pledge to clean up campaign finance. But that doesn't mean his administration hasn't been doing anything about it. Rather, the question is whether it will have the guts to see through the effort already underway. The ...

Obama's NSA Proposals Fall Far Short of Real Change

January 17, 2014 The White House promised Friday that it was ending the NSA's most controversial surveillance program "as it currently exists." But make no mistake, it's still going to exist. In fact, what President Obama has announced will have little operational effect on the National Security Agency's collection of Americans' data. And, ...

If You Want Obama to Rein In the NSA, You're About to Be Disappointed

January 14, 2014 President Obama has a rare opportunity this week to reshape the nation's counterterrorism strategy. He won't take it. The White House has been trying to lower expectations for the president's planned Friday speech for days now. He'll outline a series of reforms to the National Security Agency's surveillance programs in ...

Why the White House Can't Defend Against the NSA Court Ruling

December 17, 2013 A District Court decision that the NSA's sweeping data collection program is unconstitutional paves the way for a Supreme Court review of the counterterrorism program, and creates a major headache for the Obama administration in the process. "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary' invasion than this systematic and ...

5 Things to Know About the NSA Court Ruling

December 17, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A District Court decision that the NSA's sweeping data collection program is unconstitutional paves the way for a Supreme Court review of the counterterrorism program, and creates a major headache for the Obama administration in the process. "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary' invasion than this systematic and ...

Poll: Majority of Americans Say Bag Sequestration

December 10, 2013 As congressional negotiators work toward a budget deal to avoid another government shutdown, a majority of Americans appear to want some sort of agreement to be struck that would avoid triggering another round of automatic government budget cuts. According to the most recent United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, a ...

How Much Is a Life Worth?

August 5, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow To Ken Feinberg, if you lose both your legs, you’re as good as dead. Here, in the world of the living, inspirational media stories after the Boston Marathon bombings featured survivors who persevered, grittily relearning to walk atop state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs, fighting for normalcy with each new step. But in ...