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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. Rubio says Paul has 'no idea what he's talking about' on Cuba

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio continued his TV blitz over Cuba tonight and took a shot at Sen. Rand Paul, who said opening trade with the Communist country is "probably a good idea."...

  2. Obama says Jeb has 'every right' to run for president

    Blog

    ABC News: President Obama says he “loves” the Bush family personally and that former Florida governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush has “every right” to run in 2016.

    “The Bush family, I love personally,” Obama told ABC “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir. “They are good people. Jeb's father, George H.W. has been here many times, in some cases with Jeb. And they are a great family, wonderful people. Obviously I have a lot of disagreements with Jeb and his brother on policy. But I think they have every right to do what they think is best.”...

  3. On Cuba, Rand Paul differs from potential rivals Bush, Rubio

    Blog

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says starting to trade with Cuba "is probably a good idea" and the lengthy economic embargo against the communist island "just hasn't worked."

    Paul is the first potential Republican presidential candidate to offer some support for President Barack Obama's decision to seek to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba.

    Paul says in a radio interview Thursday with Tom Roten of News Talk 800 WVHU in Huntington, West Virginia, that many younger Cuban Americans support opening up trade with Cuba. He says many U.S. farmers support open trade with the country because it would be a new market for their crops....

  4. Bill Nelson phones Hillary Clinton with a simple message: Run

    Blog

    A couple weeks ago, Sen. Bill Nelson was at home in Florida and decided to call up Hillary Clinton. She returned the call and Nelson, who was watching 60 Minutes with his wife, had a simple message:

    Get in the race for president.

    "It's time for a woman," Nelson said from the Capitol this week, recounting the coversation. "I'm all for Hillary."

    Clinton is almost certainly going to run but the question now is when she'll announce....

  5. Jeb Bush leaving Barclays

    Blog

    Jeb Bush is leaving his position at Barclays, the Financial Times reports this morning.

    The departure from his paid adivising position comes as Bush is actively exploring a run for president.

    From the Financial Times: "Mr Bush, who served as an adviser to Lehman Brothers before its collapse during the financial crisis, has rarely spoken about his work at the British bank, which has been ensnared by scandals such as the manipulation of key benchmark interest rates and the mis-selling of payment protection insurance in recent years."...

  6. Rubio takes aggressive turn as face of opposition to President Obama's Cuba decision

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — As President Barack Obama dropped the bombshell about Cuba on Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio was hurrying to the Capitol where a packed room of reporters awaited.The Florida Republican stood outside for a moment, reviewing notes then stepped to the podium and unloaded.

    "This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime," Rubio said, contending Obama "has basically given the Cuban government everything it asked for and received no assurances of any advances of democracy and freedom."...

  7. Sen. Marco Rubio takes aggressive turn as face of opposition to President Obama's Cuba decision

    National

    WASHINGTON — As President Barack Obama dropped the bombshell about Cuba on Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio was hurrying to the Capitol where a packed room of reporters awaited.

    The Florida Republican stood outside for a moment, reviewing notes, then stepped to the podium and unloaded.

    "This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime," Rubio said, contending Obama "has basically given the Cuban government everything it asked for and received no assurances of any advances of democracy and freedom."...

    Sen. Marco Rubio reacts to President Barack Obama's announcement about revising policies on U.S.-Cuba relations on Dec. 17, 2014, in Washington. Rubio called the president a bad negotiator and criticized what he claimed was a deal with no democratic advances for Cuba. [Getty Images]
  8. Florida reaction to Cuba news

    Blog

    Reaction to the news that the U.S. is normalizing relations with Cuba and Alan Gross is being freed from a Cuban prison:

    Sen.  Bill Nelson: “The success of this monumental development depends on Castro’s willingness to grant basic democratic freedoms for the Cuban people,” Nelson said. On more normal relations, Nelson said: “Let's see if Castro changes the behavior of a brutal police state and provides freedoms for the Cuban people.”...

  9. Who is Jeb Bush?

    Blog

    Who is Jeb Bush.

    Correct, sir, for $200.

    Tuesday evening on Jeopardy, the first question under the category "Picture the Politician" was a picture of Jeb Bush.

    The contestant, a writer from New Orleans named Rooks, got it right, picking up $200.

    -- Lucy Morgan

  10. Rand Paul takes early shots at Bush on Common Core

    Blog

    At the start of Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul had this to say about Jeb Bush's news: "The more the merrier."

    But Paul, who is no doubt eyeing a run for president too, dropped the nice talk as the day wore on. To reporters he questioned whether Bush's name would be a problem. Then his team leaked that it had purchased Google ads so when people search for Bush, Paul's website would pop up.

    Tonight, on Fox not long ago, the Kentucky Republican implied that Bush was stale and had a major problem with Common Core. Asked by Megyn Kelly why Bush got in so early, Paul replied: “Maybe he has more ground he needs to gain. He’s been out of this a while so maybe he needs to get back in and practice up a bit.”...

  11. Jeb Bush: I will 'actively explore' 2016 presidential run

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — When Jeb Bush announced Tuesday that he is "actively" exploring a 2016 campaign for president, he was sending a decisive message to major donors and potential rivals: I'm in.

    Even the way he released the news via Facebook and Twitter seemed designed to convey that the 61-year-old former Florida governor, whom some have cast as rusty in the unforgiving glare of modern politics, would mount a vibrant campaign....

    Former governor Jeb Bush made the announcement Tuesday morning via a Facebook post, saying he talked with his wife Columba about their family and the future of the country.
  12. Jeb Bush: I will 'actively explore' presidential run

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush says he'll "actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States" in 2016, taking a decisive step that could shake up a large and eager Republican field.

    The 61-year-old former Florida governor made the announcement Tuesday morning via a Facebook post, saying he talked with his wife Columba over Thanksgiving about their family and the future of the country....

  13. Jeb Bush to South Carolina graduates: Seek joy in life

    State Roundup

    Right after Jeb Bush finished speaking to graduates at the University of South Carolina on Monday, a Democratic opposition research group tweeted that it was there watching.

    "Nice but typical commencement speech you gave. Hope you're well. All the best," wrote the president of the group American Bridge.

    Bush naturally steered clear of any 2016 presidential talk, but the growing prospect of him running attracted a lot of outside eyes on what was indeed a nice, conventional speech....

    Jeb Bush delivers a speech at the University of South Carolina on Monday.
  14. Jeb Bush to University of South Carolina grads: Seek joy in life

    Blog

    Right after Jeb Bush finished speaking to graduates at the University of South Carolina on Monday, a Democratic opposition research group tweeted that it was there watching.

    “Nice but typical commencement speech you gave. Hope you’re well. All the best,” wrote the president of the group American Bridge.

    Bush naturally steered clear of any 2016 presidential talk, but the growing prospect of him running attracted a lot of outside eyes on what was indeed a nice, conventional speech....

  15. Vern Buchanan awarded $6.4 million in business dispute

    Blog

    This story, from the Bradenton Herald, is from last week, but since Buchanan's business dealings have been a matter of past blog entries, it's worth noting for the record:

    SARASOTA -- A judge and jury found in favor of Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, issuing a final judgment awarding him more than $6.4 million in connection with a business dispute.

    Circuit Court Judge Peter Dubensky on Friday issued the judgment incorporating the jury award in a case involving Sam Kazran, the congressman's former business partner in a Jacksonville car dealership. Kazran's case named as defendants Buchanan and his 1099 Management Co. LLC....