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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. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio condemn latest Obama move on Cuba

    Blog

    Jeb Bush swiftly condemened the Obama administration's decision today to remove Cuba from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism.

    "Neither continued repression at home nor Cuba's destabilizing activities abroad appear sufficient to stop President Obama from making further concessions to the Communist regime in Havana," Bush said in a statement. "Today's news is further evidence that President Obama seems more interested in capitulating to our adversaries than in confronting them. Iran's leaders are surely taking note. The removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List and the unilateral concessions to Havana, before it changes its authoritarian ways and stops denying the Cuban people their basic human rights, is a mistake. I call on Congress to keep pressure on Cuba and hold the Administration accountable."...

  2. Medicaid expansion ad wars

    Blog

    Americans for Prosperity says it is launching another ad to keep pressure on lawmakers against expanding Medicaid.

    Meanwhile a business group supporting the expansion, A Healthy Florida Works Coalition, has its own ad, currently airing in Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee, West Palm, Miami as well as cable across the state.

    AFP "Medicaid is wrong for Florida" ad began running today online and will be launched in "media markets across the state on television." An observer doubts that TV claim, noting the ad is an unusual 41-seconds. An AFP spokesman said a 30-second version has been prepared for television and it would begin airing next week....

  3. Don Gaetz looks at Jeff Miller's congressional seat

    Blog

    State Sen. Don Gaetz says he won't run for U.S. Senate but he is looking at U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller's seat.

    “I have at one time or another represented every area of the First Congressional District as it is presently drawn,” Gaetz, R-Niceville, told the Northwest Florida Daily News.

    Miller is considering running for Marco Rubio's Senate seat.

    The newspaper reported that there's "no doubt" state Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, will seek to replace Miller....

  4. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio open to more oil drilling as issue gains attention in Florida

    State Roundup

    Efforts to open oil drilling off both Florida coasts could inject the issue into the race for president, and home state contenders Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are supportive of more production.

    Neither Republican appears receptive to legislation that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., filed last week to block a proposal from gulf state lawmakers that would end the ban on drilling within a certain distance of the coast....

    On oil rig sits off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Efforts to open up oil drilling off both Florida coasts could inject the issue into the race for president, and home state contenders Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are supportive of more production. Neither Republican appears receptive to legislation U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., filed last week to block a proposal from gulf state lawmakers that would end the ban on drilling within a certain distance of the coast. [Associated Press (2008)] 

  5. Christie backs off Common Core, leaving Jeb Bush more exposed

    Blog

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today backed away from Common Core, declaring "it's simply not working."

    That leaves Jeb Bush, a probable rival to Christie in the GOP presidential race, even more exposed on the issue. Bush has been assailed by conservatives for his support for the standards. He hasn't backed down but Bush has deflected somewhat to say he's for any higher standards -- as long as students are challenged more....

  6. Hillary Clinton brings cloistered campaign to Florida

    Blog

    Hillary Clinton brings her presidential campaign to Florida today but average people and reporters won’t have much of an opportunity, if any at all, to see her up close.

    When her visit was announced last week aides said she would do a public event. Now that seems off the table, but she might go for something small with little notice — a simple reach for a photo or clip on the TV news."...

  7. Bush and Rubio open to more oil drilling as issue gains attention in Florida

    Blog

    Efforts to open up oil drilling off both Florida coasts could inject the issue into the race for president, and home state contenders Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are generally supportive of more production.

    Neither Republican seems receptive to legislation Sen. Bill Nelson filed to block a proposal from Gulf state lawmakers that would end the ban on drilling within a certain distance of the coast. The current prohibition, ranging from 125 miles to 235 miles, expires in 2022. Proponents, led by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., say increased drilling would create jobs....

    An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
  8. Rubio, Bush at top but GOP presidential race remains wide open

    Blog

    The sprawling GOP presidential field has made for no clear front runner, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows.

    Five candidates, including Florida’s Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush as well, each take 10 percent of support in the national poll. The others are Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker.

    Rand Paul got 7 percent; Ted Cruz 6 percent; Donald Trump 5 percent; Chris Christie 4 percent....

  9. Marco Rubio is 44 years old (or young)

    Blog

    Marco Antonio Rubio, the wanna-be college football star turn star politician, is 44 years old today.

    That’s a good thing for the presidential candidate. He’s a year older than 43, yet comfortably younger than you know who (and you know, too, Jeb).

    Here’s a kid who once was ordered to make copies for Toni Jennings. Ahem, lieutenant governor, that was state Rep. Rubio, R-West Miami --  a made man already, given his ties to then-Gov. Bush, yet the budding version of one of the most talented politicians Florida has ever seen....

    Marco Rubio as a kid in Las Vegas; Marco Rubio as a U.S. Senator
  10. Watchdog groups ask Justice Department to investigate Jeb Bush's Super Pac

    State Roundup

    Two watchdog groups on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Jeb Bush and his Super PAC are "engaged in knowing and willful violations of the campaign finance laws," the latest in a string of complaints against the Florida Republican.

    The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, based in Washington, ask Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special counsel to conduct an investigation....

    Jeb Bush speaks during the 2015 Southern Republican Leadership Conference May 22 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. [Getty Images]
  11. Court decision blocking Obama's immigration plan could affect 182,000 people in Florida

    Blog

    A court ruling Tuesday to block implementation of President Obama’s latest program to shield illegal immigrants from deportation will have widespread implications in Florida.

    Experts estimate that as many as 182,000 adults in Florida would have been eligible to participate in the program know as DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability. It resembles DACA, which is already in effect, and focuses on younger undocumented immigrants....

  12. Watchdogs ask Justice Department to investigate Jeb Bush campaign

    Blog

    Two watchdog groups today asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Jeb Bush and his Super PAC are “engaged in knowing and willful violations of the campaign finance laws.”

    The complaint comes from the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, groups that have raised questions before about Bush’s Right to Rise committee. They ask Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special counsel to conduct an investigation....

    Former Gov. Jeb Bush delivers a speech during April's annual meeting of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Ohio.
  13. President Obama making 39th trip to Florida

    Blog

    President Obama loves Florida.

    Today, he's making his 39th visit since he was first elected, attending a pair of fundraisers in Miami and then visiting the National Hurricane Center on Thursday.

    It’s Obama's 16th visit to Miami alone, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS News reporter in Washington who keeps statistics on the president’s travel.

    “Aside from DC neighbors VA and MD, FL is Obama’s 3rd most frequent destination behind NY (49 visits) and OH (41 visits),” Knoller told the Tampa Bay Times in an email....

    Obama steps off Air Force One in Miami on April 22, 2015, followed by U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Carlos Curbelo
  14. Club for Growth praises Alan Grayson in new ad

    Blog

    The Club for Growth is out with an unusual TV ad praising Alan Grayson and criticizing Patrick Murphy over the Ex-Im Bank.

    "The ad will begin airing tomorrow statewide on MSNBC and other outlets in Florida, and it represents the third phase in an overall $1 million campaign, including digital advertising," the conservative group said in a news release.

    Grayson, who could challenge Murphy for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, opposes the Export-Import Bank....

  15. Marco Rubio on gay marriage and a 'real and present danger' to Christianity

    Blog

    Marco Rubio lashed out at gay rights activists in an interview aired Tuesday, saying anyone who does not believe in same-sex marriage is labeled a "hater."

    “We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech,” Rubio told Christian Broadcasting Network. “Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. ... After they are done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech and that's a real and present danger."...