The Cherries extended their unbeaten run to a club-record 18 games but would have claimed a priceless victory but for James' costly late blunder.
Harry Arter's first-half screamer looked like being the matchwinner until James slipped over 25 yards from goal, allowing Andy Williams to claim an 85th-minute equaliser.
Howe blamed the sodden south-coast weather rather than James for the error, saying: "It was a fascinating game, ruined by the conditions.
"That was a real shame from our perspective, being a footballing team. It was difficult for us to play our normal game and we had to adjust the way we played.
"I'm not pointing any fingers at David James. Their equalising goal was freakish, just one of those things. Jamo pulled off several fine saves for us during the game. That's the life of a goalkeeper.
"The longer it went on, the worse the conditions got and Swindon, the way they play, adapted better."
Visiting boss Paolo di Canio was beaming with pride at full-time, saying: "It is a great point against one of the best sides in the league. I am more proud because my lads were amazing.
"It is an important signal because two months ago we would have lost this game. We played good football for the conditions and the occasion, we dominated and had good chances.
"The fact we created four or five clear-cut chances is something amazing and if we can do this away from home it is a fantastic signal. We reacted with style, quality and determination."
- Sports & Recreation
- Harry Arter