Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Alex Leary

Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement.

Alex is a graduate of Ithaca College (journalism/anthropology) and began his career at the Valley News in New Hampshire. Alex was born in La Crosse, Wis., and raised in upstate New York along with six brothers and sisters. He lives in Washington.

Phone: (202) 306-4807

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Florida House members divided on vote to arm Syrian rebels

    Blog

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled House voted grudgingly to give the administration authority to train and arm Syrian rebels on Wednesday as President Barack Obama emphasized anew that American forces "do not and will not have a combat mission" in the struggle against Islamic State militants in either Iraq or Syria.

    The 273-156 vote crossed party lines to an unusual degree in a Congress marked by near ceaseless partisanship. Top Republican and Democratic leaders backed Obama's plan seven weeks before midterm elections, while dozens of rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties opposed it....

  2. Sen. Marco Rubio: 'America cannot avoid its role as a global leader'

    National

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio did not hold back criticism — of the president, Congress or a potential 2016 presidential rival — in a foreign policy speech Wednesday that called for aggressive U.S. engagement in the world's hot spots.

    "America cannot avoid its role as a global leader," the Florida Republican said in a speech at the Willard hotel.

    He criticized defense budget cuts enacted by Congress and said it was a mistake for President Barack Obama to rule out combat troops to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria....

    Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida , a leading 2016 GOP presidential contender, gives a foreign policy speech to the Project for the Common Defense in Washington, D.C., calling for a forceful U.S engagement with ISIS.
  3. Rubio: 'America cannot avoid its role as a global leader'

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio did not hold back criticism -- of the president, Congress or a potential 2016 presidential rival -- in foreign policy speech today that called for aggressive U.S. engagement in the world's hot spots.

    "America cannot avoid its role as a global leader," the Florida Republican said in a speech at the Willard Hotel.

    He criticized defense budget cuts enacted by Congress and said it was a "mistake" for President Barack Obama to rule out combat troops to fight ISIS....

  4. In Tampa, Obama rules out ground troops

    Blog

    In a speech today at MacDill Air Force Base, President Obama reaffirmed his decision not to commit ground troops in the fight against.

    It came after talk from military officials yesterday that the option should be on table. Said Obama:

    "As I announced last week, we’re going to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.  And whether in Iraq or in Syria, these terrorists will learn the same thing that the leaders of al Qaeda already know:  We mean what we say; our reach is long; if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.  We will find you eventually....

  5. Obama campaigned to get U.S. out of war but now pursues new one

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — Florida was still getting to know Barack Obama when he showed up for a rally in Tampa in May 2008, but his message seized the mood. "We are at a defining moment in our history," the candidate declared to 15,000 people at the St. Pete Times Forum.

    "Our nation is not only involved in a war that we must win in Afghanistan, but it is also involved in a war that I believe should have never been authorized and should have never been waged that has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives and has not made us more safe."...

    President Barack Obama, seated near Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, receives a briefing from commanders of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, at CentCom headquarters on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
  6. At MacDill, former war foe Obama must defend his fight against ISIS

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Florida was still getting to know Barack Obama when he showed up for a rally in Tampa in May 2008, but his message seized the mood. "We are at a defining moment in our history," the candidate declared to 15,000 people at the St. Pete Times Forum.

    "Our nation is not only involved in a war that we must win in Afghanistan, but it is also involved in a war that I believe should have never been authorized and should have never been waged that has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives and has not made us more safe."...

    Gen. Joseph Votel, left, SOCom commander; Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, CentCom commander; and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor meet Obama at MacDill Air Force Base on Tuesday.
  7. Jeb Bush directs Common Core criticism to Obama

    Blog

    In a rare sit-down interview, Jeb Bush discusses foreign policy and education with the Washington Post's conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. What stood out is his dealing with Common Core, an issue that has dogged him.

    “In the last year or year and a half there has been a stalling-out of the comprehensive reform movement,” he told Rubin....

  8. Bush tops Rubio in New Hampshire poll

    Blog

    A CNN poll released today shows Sen. Rand Paul leading the hypothetical GOP field in New Hampshire. Jeb Bush took 10 percent to Paul's 15. Marco Rubio is at 7 percent.

     

    CNN poll
  9. Rubio mixes football and politics in Buffalo

    Blog

    Politics and football have always mixed for Marco Rubio, a one time college player, and today he landed in Buffalo for a fundraiser and to watch the Dolphins take on the Bills.

    This photo was posted on Instagram by Terry Sullivan, who helps run Rubio's Reclaim American PAC. "Invading enemy territory in Buffalo @marcorubio bumps into Jim Kelly," Sullivan wrote....

    Sen. Marco Rubio and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly
  10. President Barack Obama will visit Tampa, CentCom next week

    State Roundup

    President Barack Obama will travel to Tampa next week for a briefing at U.S. Central Command as the military begins a more aggressive assault on the Islamic State group.

    Obama will fly to MacDill Air Force Base on Tuesday evening after visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for an Ebola crisis briefing, according to the White House. He will spend the night in Tampa....

  11. Obama to visit CENTCOM on Wednesday

    Blog

    President Barack Obama will travel to Tampa next week for a briefing at U.S. Central Command as the military begins a more aggressive assault on the Islamic State group.

    Obama will fly to MacDill Air Force Base on Tuesday evening after visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, according to the White House.

    He will receive a briefing Wednesday morning then make a statement to reporters....

  12. Chris Christie campaigns with Rick Scott on Friday

    Blog

    Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey will campaign Friday with Gov. Rick Scott in Panama City and Crawfordville.

    Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, but he's also looking to run for president and welcomes the exposure in a key state. A recent poll conducted for the Tampa Bay Times showed Christie lagging behind several other potential GOP rivals, including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul....

  13. Gwen Graham's work for D.C. law firm raises lobbying question

    Blog

    Rep. Steve Southerland is out with a hard-hitting new ad that levels a potent charge against Democratic rival Gwen Graham: Years ago, she was a Washington lobbyist.

    "Liberal Gwen Graham is hiding the truth," a narrator says in Southerland's new ad. "Graham was Washington lobbyist and liberal political consultant who has taken thousands of dollars from Nancy Pelosi and her special interest allies."...

    Letter from Gwen Graham's former boss
  14. Sens. Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson expect long fight vs. Islamic State

    National

    WASHINGTON — Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio say the United States will be in for a long fight against the Islamic State group, a conflict that they warn could involve American troops on the ground.

    "It's going to be probably years," Nelson, a Democrat, said after President Barack Obama's speech Wednesday night. "The U.S. will probably put boots on the ground, but it will be more commando raids and forward air observers with others to do the actual strikes on the ground. But we have no choice. This is a vicious, diabolical group that must be stopped."...

    Marco Rubio
  15. Rubio: Boots on ground may be required

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio offered muted support of President Obama’s plan to take on the Islamic State group, saying in three interviews this morning that “we’re in a better place."

    Rubio also said he thinks Obama has the authority to act but said he welcomed a vote by congress. He talked about a long-term effort that could involve American troops on the ground, something other lawmakers are deeply worried about and the public may not be ready to support....