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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


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

  1. 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....

    MIRAMAR, FL - JANUARY 23:  Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media during a visit to SeaLand shipping lines new Intra-Americas headquarters on January 23, 2015 in Miramar, Florida. Scott announced that Florida businesses added 11,500 private-sector jobs in December 2014 and since December 2010, Florida has added 728,500 private-sector jobs. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) 534062081
  2. Jeb Bush tests a stump speech in San Francisco


    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."...

  3. 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....

    Sen. Marco Rubio stands on the floor of the House Chamber before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address at the Capitol on Tuesday. In between media appearances around his book, Rubio has been scooping up campaign cash.
  4. Bush, Scott, Gardiner, Crisafulli to attend education summit in Tally


    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."...

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


    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."

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


    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.
  7. Far from backing down, Rubio to spend a week in California fundraising


    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....

  8. Bush and Romney to meet this week in Utah


    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....

  9. Gwen Graham draws fire from Democrats for Keystone and other GOP-leaning votes


    U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham 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. Florida Democratic chair Allison Tant posted a photo of her and Graham on Tuesday and the comment section filled up with negative assessments of Graham, who took the Congressional District 2 seat from GOP incumbent Steve Southerland....

    Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant with Rep. Gwen Graham on Jan. 20, 2015
  10. Jeb Bush looks to Iowa


    The following is from the Des Moines Register:

    When Jeb Bush telephoned Iowa's Republican party chairman today, he repeatedly said he's not a candidate, he's just exploring a bid for president in 2016.

    "But there was a resolve in his voice," Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told The Des Moines Register this afternoon. "What I heard is a man that's ready to come out and tackle the Hawkeye state."...

  11. Alan Grayson's divorce case takes an odd turn


    ORLANDO (AP) — A trial to determine whether U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson's wife committed bigamy when she wed the congressman has been delayed because she required emergency surgery to remove breast implants.

    The trial had been scheduled for Thursday in Orlando but is now set for March.

    Lolita Grayson had been suffering chest pains. When she went to a hospital to get checked out, she was told she needed emergency surgery to remove the leaking implants and scar tissue, according to court papers filed this week.

    The surgery was Monday.

    "Due to this medical emergency, wife is unable to prepare for or attend the trial," her attorney, Mercedes Wechsler, said in a court filing....

  12. Romney, heading toward 2016 run, will give commencement speech in Jacksonville


    Mitt Romney, who is considering another run for president, will give the keynote address at Jacksonville University’s spring vommencement on April 25, the school announced today.

  13. In Spanish, GOP rebuttal to State of the Union mentions Cuba -- but not in English


    By Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald

    Republican Party's Spanish-language rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union address. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst responded in English.

    The two freshmen's remarks were mostly the same. They differed, as expected, on matters of biography: Ernst spoke about having a single pair of shoes growing up in Iowa winters, Curbelo said he grew up "in Miami, one of the country's most diverse cities."...

    Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R_Miami, prepares to pre-record a spanish version of the Republican response to Tuesday's State of the Union address on Monday.
  14. Rubio: Bush, Christie, other governors lack foreign policy experience


    Sen. Marco Rubio, if he runs for president, will face no shortage of questions about qualifications and have to contend with a persistent thought in the GOP that a governor may have the best chance to win in 2016.

    But Rubio, 43, has a rebuttal: Foreign policy.

    “If I was a governor, I'd make the same argument, too," the Foreign Relations and Intelligence committee member told reporters this morning, adding a slight laugh....

    Sen. Marco Rubio talks with reporters in Washington on Jan. 21, 2015.
  15. Weatherford, brothers to open Tampa firm

    State Roundup

    Former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford announced Tuesday that he's going to give this private sector thing a try by forming a "strategic business advisory firm" with two of his brothers.

    Weatherford and brothers Sam and Drew, the former Florida State University quarterback, are calling their Tampa company "Weatherford Partners." It will provide clients "with a broad range of business expertise and will invest capital directly into private companies with a strategic focus on Florida."...

    Former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and brothers Sam and Drew, the former Florida State University quarterback, are opening a Tampa firm, “Weatherford Partners.”