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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 wants permanent extension of 'counterterrorism tools'

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio wants Congress to permanently extend "counterterrorism tools" that have sparked a national debate and divided the GOP.

    "We also cannot afford to ignore another lesson of 9/11 and curtail intelligence gathering capabilities that have been legally and painstakingly established following those horrific attacks," Rubio wrote in an online piece for Fox News....

  2. Welcome -- or not -- to Iowa, Jeb Bush

    Blog

    Jeb Bush skipped Steve King's Iowa gathering over the weekend and for good reason. The forum was hostile to anyone who supports Common Core and immigration reform.

    American Bridge put together this video that illustrates Bush's problems with the most conservative reaches of his GOP.

    ...

  3. Not Romney. Not Bush. Rather, 'undecided' leads latest GOP presidential poll

    Blog

    A USA Today/Suffolk University poll out today highlights the wide-open Republican field. It's so early that no one knows what will happen. But for the time being:

    Undecided: 45 percent

    Mitt Romney: 16 percent...

  4. Rubio's fundraising trip to California means missed votes and criticism

    Blog

    It’s cold and nasty in Washington today.

    Fortunately for Sen. Marco Rubio he’s in California for the week, attending a series of fundraisers. Yet as he pursues his national ambitions, Rubio is neglecting the job Floridians elected him to do....

  5. At Koch brothers event, Rubio, Cruz, Paul show GOP's split on foreign policy

    State Roundup

    Three senators, including Florida's Marco Rubio, gave a preview Sunday of the coming Republican presidential primary debate exposing differences on foreign policy while holding the party line on taxes.

    Rubio was on stage with Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul as part of the annual winter retreat held by Freedom Partners, a Koch brothers organization. The discussion, which was webcast, was cordial but saw the biggest divide over foreign policy....

    U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio shakes hands before the start of last week's State of the Union speech in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol. [Getty Images]
  6. At Koch Bros event, Rubio, Cruz, Paul show GOP's split on foreign policy

    Blog

    Three senators, including Florida’s Marco Rubio, gave a preview Sunday of the coming Republican presidential primary debate exposing differences on foreign policy while holding the party line on taxes.

    Rubio was on stage with Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul as part of the annual winter retreat held by Freedom Partners, a Koch brothers organization. The discussion, which was webcast, was cordial but saw the biggest divide over foreign policy....

  7. Chris Christie moves closer to running for president, launches PAC like Jeb Bush

    Blog

    The Jeb Bush factor ... His aggressive foray into race drew in Mitt Romney and now Chris Christie. From the Wall Street Journal:

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his supporters have formed a political-action committee ahead of a likely bid for president, adding a third well-known Republican figure to the fight for campaign funds among the party’s core donor class.

    The launch of the PAC, called Leadership Matters for America, is the clearest sign yet that Mr. Christie is running. It allows Mr. Christie to assemble a team of about a dozen staffers and fundraisers who could support a potential run for president, as well as to raise money that can be used to contribute to like-minded political candidates....

  8. Democrat Gwen Graham takes heat for right-leaning votes

    State Roundup

    U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, who unseated Republican Steve Southerland in November, is under fire from Democrats for votes in favor of the Keystone pipeline, to roll back Wall Street reforms and other issues, illustrating the difficulty she faces in a district with a sizable conservative base.

    The rift is evident on Facebook, where Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Allison Tant posted a photo of her and Graham on Tuesday and the comment section filled up with negative assessments of Graham....

    “... The people of North Florida expect us to work together,”  Rep. Gwen  Graham says.
  9. Jeb Bush tests a stump speech in San Francisco

    Blog

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In his first public event since taking steps toward a presidential run, Jeb Bush on Friday called on political leaders to overhaul the country's immigration and education systems, increase job training programs and ease energy regulations to spur economic growth.

    "We're in the fifth, almost sixth year of a recovery and 60 percent of Americans believe we're still in a recession," Bush told the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association. "They're not dumb. It's because they are in a recession."...

  10. Marco Rubio not backing down on 2016 race

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — It's Marco Rubio's version of the Tom Petty anthem I Won't Back Down.

    Five weeks after Jeb Bush hurled himself into what looks like an inevitable 2016 campaign for president, Rubio shows no sign he's going to defer to the fellow Floridian and he remains on track to launch his own bid for the Republican nomination.

    No one expected Rubio to wave a white flag, but his words and actions are more than keeping up appearances as he promotes a new book that will take him to early primary states. In recent days, Rubio has added muscle to his political staff and will camp out in California next week, skipping out on his job in Washington for a series of fundraisers....

    U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio talks with Florida reporters in his Washington office on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. [ALEX LEARY    |   Times]
  11. Bush, Scott, Gardiner, Crisafulli to attend education summit in Tally

    Blog

    Jeb Bush's education foundation will hold a summit on Feb. 10 that the former governor will attend along with Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

    The Foundation for Excellence in Education announced the summit today and said Bush will attend. (Conveniently, the presidential hopeful also has a fundraiser in Tallahassee that day).

    "The half-day event, 2-5 p.m., at The Alumni Center in Tallahassee, Fla., is convening top Florida policymakers and education stakeholders for a conversation about accountability and choice, two of the most important factors for unlocking student potential. Event cohosts include Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Council of 100, Hispanic CREO, the James Madison Institute, the Multicultural Education Alliance, and the Urban League of Greater Miami."...

  12. Rand Paul trash talks Bush over Common Core, again

    Blog

    Rand Paul has become the trash talker of 2016.

    As Jeb Bush met today with Mitt Romney, Paul took to twitter. "Mitt Romney's friendship band to Jeb Bush at today's meeting in Utah," he wrote above a picture with a bracelet that read "Common Core."

  13. Condi Rice taking over Jeb Bush's education foundation

    Blog

    Jeb Bush is handing over control of his Foundation for Excellence in Education to Condi Rice.

    The news was first reported by the Associated Press. The Buzz obtained the letter Bush wrote announcing the transition, calling the former Secretary of State a "strong and compelling voice for education reform and school choice."

    Patricia Levesque will stay on as the foundation's CEO.

    Jeb Bush letter announcing Condi Rice as new chair of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.
  14. Far from backing down, Rubio to spend a week in California fundraising

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio will spend next week in California as part of an aggressive fundraising schedule that underscores he is not backing away from a run for president even as Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and others charge ahead.

    Rubio’s trip begins Sunday in Palm Springs, when he’ll appear at the Koch Brothers retreat and participate in an issues forum, to be moderated by Jonathan Karl, with Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul....

  15. Bush and Romney to meet this week in Utah

    Blog

    The following is from the New York Times.

    WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are scheduled to meet privately this week in Utah, raising the possibility that the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns that would split the Republican establishment next year, two prominent party members said Wednesday night....