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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

  1. Jeb Bush faces the heat at CPAC and stands ground


    OXON Hill, Md. - Jeb Bush walked into a hostile den of conservative activists here Friday but, backed by scores of supporters who often drowned out boos with cheers, stood his ground on immigration and Common Core while touting his record as governor.

    “It’s a record of accomplishment, of getting things done,” Bush said, ticking off his efforts to end affirmative action and cut the budget. “They called me Veto Corleone,” he said, standing on stage with moderator Sean Hannity of Fox News....

  2. Jeb Bush exploits non-candidate status to rewrite campaign finance playbook

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — As Jeb Bush continues a torrid fundraising schedule across the country, he is pushing new boundaries of campaign finance law, exploiting his status as a non-candidate to avoid contribution limits and amass a cash pile already in the tens of millions.

    The effort, which supporters call "shock and awe," is designed to assert Bush's dominance in the 2016 Republican presidential field, but it also represents a new chapter in the era of unlimited money in politics and raises numerous questions, beginning with the most basic:...

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the winter meeting of the free market Club for Growth winter economic conference at the Breakers Hotel, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper) FLJS101
  3. Jeb brings reinforcements to CPAC


    Jeb Bush is about to take the stage at CPAC, a venue where his name has already been booed, his wife's spending mocked and his alignment with immigration reform and Common Core is ripe for attack from the conservative wing of his party.

    But Bush is bringing in reinforcements.

    Shortly before his 1:30 p.m. apparance, supporters entered the room wearing red Jeb! '16 stickers, and later they will meet privately with him....

    A Jeb Bush supporter hands out stickers
  4. Florida, say farewell to Allen West


    Ran into Allen West, the bombastic former Florida congressman, at CPAC and asked him if he's still looking to run for Senate if Marco Rubio runs for president.

    "I'm no longer a Florida resident," he said, ribbing a reporter for "not keeping up."

    West said he left the Sunshine state on Christmas Eve and he now lives in Dallas, where he's president of the National Center for Policy Analysis....

  5. Jeb Bush faces the heat at CPAC and stands ground

    State Roundup

    OXON Hill, Md. — Jeb Bush walked into a hostile swarm of conservative activists here Friday but, backed by scores of supporters who often drowned out boos with cheers, stood his ground on immigration and Common Core while touting his time as governor.

    "It's a record of accomplishment, of getting things done," Bush said, standing on stage with moderator Sean Hannity at the Conservative Political Action Conference....

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush shakes hands with people in the audience after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., on Friday. (Associated Press)
  6. Rubio gets warm CPAC reception and plays up border-first approach to immigration


    OXON Hill, Md. -- Sen. Marco Rubio took another step in erasing the damage of his role in immigration reform, receiving a warm reception at the annual CPAC gathering here while effectively saying the comprehensive approach he once championed was a mistake.

    Rubio, who has been walking back his role in helping write the comprehensive 2013 Senate bill, was aided by criticism of President Obama’s executive action to protect millions of undocumented residents from deportation, getting applause for blasting it as an abuse of constitutional authority....

  7. Jeb Bush wasn't popular at his last CPAC, but was he right about the GOP?


    Two years ago, Jeb Bush took the stage at CPAC, where he’ll return this afternoon, and outlined an inclusive vision for the GOP, one that stood for something, not just against everything President Obama does.

    "I'm here to tell you there is no 'us' or 'them,' " Bush said. "The face of the Republican Party needs to be the face of every American, and we need to be the party of inclusion and acceptance. It's our heritage and our future and we need to couch our efforts in those terms."...

    Jeb Bush's lecture at CPAC two years ago didn’t wow grass-roots conservatives at the Gaylord National hotel outside Washington, but his message seems especially relevant today with the 2016 presidential race looming.
  8. Chris Christie takes CPAC shots at Jeb Bush


    Chris Christie appeared at CPAC today outside Washington and took several shots at Jeb Bush, who is working to stifle Christie's support among center-right Republicans.

    “If the elites in Washington make backroom deals to decide who he next president is going to be, (Bush) is definitely the front-runner,” the New Jersey governor  said. If voters choose “somebody who looks them in the eye, I’ll do OK.”...

  9. Jeb Bush on a 'third Bush war'


    From the Hugh Hewitt show yesteray:

    Hewitt: "Now Governor Bush, what interests me about that is when you look forward into a possible third Bush presidency, not how the Iraq wars went or your opinion of your father’s order to invade Iraq, or your brother’s order to invade Iraq, but whether or not you’d be overly cautious about using force for fear of having a 'third Bush war' occur?"...

  10. In Miami, Obama vows to veto any bill blocking his executive immigration action


    By Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald

    Likening immigration reform to the great civil-rights movements in U.S. history, President Barack Obama vowed during a brief visit to Miami on Wednesday to veto any legislation undoing his executive order protecting from deportation up to 5 million people who are in the country illegally.

    “In the short term, if Mr. [Mitch] McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have a vote on whether what I’m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote,” Obama said, almost daring congressional leaders to challenge him. “I will veto that vote because I’m absolutely confident that what we’re doing is the right thing to do.”...

  11. Obama arrives in Miami for immigration town hall


    President Obama landed about an hour ago in Miami for his town hall on immigration. Flying with him on Air Force One was Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, decked out, as usual, in every inch of flair she's known for. Also flying with Obama was California Rep. Linda Sanchez.

    Denied a seat: Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami. Reporters asked WH spokesman Josh Earnest about the snub but he "offered no explanation," according to a press pool report....

    President Obama lands in Miami
  12. Florida reporters shut out of Club for Growth gathering featuring Bush, Rubio and other presidential hopefuls


    Some of the top Republican presidential hopefuls, including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, will speak at Club for Growth gathering in Palm Beach starting tomorrow, but you won't read about it on a Florida news site.

    Florida reporters aren't invited.

    The Club can hold a private event, of course, but it chose to invite some news outlets.

    "The decision was made to limit access to a few outlets not only for space and privacy concerns, but also to outlets with readership interested in the Club for Growth specifically, not just the Floridians speaking at its conference," spokesman Barney Keller tells the Tampa Bay Times....

  13. Jeb Bush staying out of fight over Homeland Security funding


    Jeb Bush was quick to weigh in on President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, but has remained silent about the fight over Department of Homeland Security funding.

    In recent days we’ve heard from Democrats and equally eager Republicans wondering where the highly visible presidential contender stood on the issue dominating Capitol Hill. The Tampa Bay Times has sought comment several times....

  14. Dept of misinformation: GOP attacks Patrick Murphy, Gwen Graham on Keystone, which they voted for


    In an sign of the endless campaign, the NRCC today announced it is unleashing robo calls in the districts of Florida Reps. Patrick Murphy and Gwen Graham. The reason: President Obama's veto of the Keystone pipeline.

    “Patrick Murphy has failed Florida families by standing idle as President Obama vetoed the Keystone Pipeline,” NRCC Communications Director Katie Martin said in a news release. “If Murphy really cared about what is best for America, he would have seriously demanded the President sign the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation. It is very clear that Patrick Murphy is more concerned with pleasing his liberal backers than helping middle class families.”...

  15. Iowa poll shows Scott Walker outpacing Jeb Bush, others


    Q poll news release:

    An early look at likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants shows a strong conservative tilt as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leads the pack with 25 percent, twice as high as his nearest rival, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

    Voters who identify as "very conservative" make up 45 percent of the caucus participants surveyed by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. Tea Party supporters make up 32 percent of likely caucus-goers and Walker gets 33 percent of that Tea Party vote....