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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. GOP columnist: Rubio can't be trusted


    Republican commentator Chris Ingram in today's Tampa Tribune:

    Knowing politicians avoid risk helps understand why people such as Atwater, Weatherford, Buchanan or Jolly likely will not jump in this “open” race. But you ask, “What is the risk?”

    The risk is Rubio. Florida’s junior senator is not exactly the most trustworthy person — as evidenced by his indiscretions with allowing the state Republican party to pay the $10,000 hotel bill for a Rubio family reunion, and his charge of $4,000 on his RPOF American Express card for new floors in his home, or for wine, car repairs, consumer electronics and even groceries. He says he paid the money back, but only once he got caught, and Rubio has never provided a full disclosure of the charges or reimbursements he claims. And don’t forget about his double-billing the state for airline tickets. Rubio blames many of these problems on clerical errors. Yeah, right....

  2. Rubio touts his experience before Des Moines Register edit board


    Marco Rubio is in Iowa Saturday and made the required stop to the Des Moines Register editorial board, and made the case why he is ready to be president. In a new variation on his answer, Rubio called himself the "chief administrative officer" of the Florida House. ...

  3. 'Get a life,' Mitt Romney tells graduates in Jacksonville


    Mitt Romney had advice Saturday for graduates at Jacksonville University: Get a life.

    "That phrase is actually pretty good advice for all of us,” Romney said. “Get a life, have a life, live your life in full. Embrace every fruitful dimension of life that you possibly can.”

    “The country needs all of you to serve. America faces daunting challenges: generational poverty, looming debt, a warming climate and a world that is increasingly dangerous and tumultuous. Washington appears inept, powerless and without an effective strategy to overcome any of these. America needs your passion, your impatience, your participation.”...

  4. Bush retreat to draw 350 to Miami


    More than 350 Jeb Bush donors and supporters will gather at a high-end South Beach hotel on Sunday and Monday, according to his Right to Rise PAC.

    "This is a great opportunity for supporters of the Right to Rise PAC to get to know one another and the team, to receive updates on the PAC's activities, and to provide ideas and feedback," reads a background sheet....

  5. Marco Rubio's finances have presented an opportunity — and a curse

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Marco Rubio nearly quit politics.

    He was so broke in 2001 that just as he began his ascent in the Florida House, he and his wife had to move in with her mother. Rubio decided to leave Tallahassee and practice law full time.

    He got in his car to think and wound up at Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables, where he had gotten married three years earlier. He knelt to pray. "Why had God allowed me to come so far only to let me fail?" he recounted in a 2012 memoir....

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami. speaks in Washington earlier this month. [Associated Press]
  6. Marco Rubio's finances an opportunity -- and a curse


    A preview of our Sunday profile of Marco Rubio's finances:

    Marco Rubio nearly quit politics.

    He was so broke in 2001 that just as he began his ascent in the Florida House, he and his wife had to move in with her mother. Rubio decided to leave Tallahassee and practice law full time.

    He got in his car to think and wound up at Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables, where he had gotten married three years earlier. He knelt to pray. “Why had God allowed me to come so far only to let me fail?” he recounted in a 2012 memoir....

    Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican presidential candidate
  7. Rubio votes against Loretta Lynch; Nelson votes for her


    The U.S. Senate just voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next U.S. Attorney General, ending a long battle that got hung up over President Obama's executive action on immigration.

    Sen. Marco Rubio voted with most Republicans against Lynch. Sen. Bill Nelson voted with Democrats in favor of her. She will be the first black woman to hold the job.

    Republicans held up Lynch over her contention that Obama's executive orders were legal....

  8. Jeb Bush calls Koch network 'important part of any coalition to win'


    Jeb Bush is in New York today and was asked about the "Koch primary," the behind the scenes battle for the heart and money of the billionaire conservatives.

    “If I go beyond the consideration to be an active candidate, my hope is to garner as much support across the whole spectrum of the Republican party,” Bush told reporters.

    Bush is considered one of five candidates Charles and David Koch are looking to back. The others are Scott Walker, Ted Cruz Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. (Rubio today participated in a Koch-sponsored conference call aimed at killing reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.)...

  9. Jeb Bush's Super PAC draws questions of legality


    Jeb Bush's use of a Super PAC may violate campaign finance laws, argues Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21 in an op/ed published Thursday by Reuters.

    Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is preparing to push the role of the individual-candidate super PAC to new, brazen heights.

    The Bush campaign is reportedly planning to reverse the role of Bush’s campaign committee and the “independent” super PAC supporting him – so that the super PAC would essentially become Bush’s campaign committee....

  10. National poll: Rubio jumps to front of GOP field, runs best against Clinton


    Marco Rubio leads the GOP field in a new national poll and runs best against Hillary Clinton, a big shot for his campaign that's just over a week into effect.

    Rubio takes 15 percent of the GOP primary vote, according to the Quinnipiac poll, with Jeb Bush earning 13 percent and Scott Walker 11 percent. No other candidate tops 9 percent and 14 percent remain undecided....

  11. Gov. Scott skips Obama meeting


    Gov. Rick Scott declined an official White House invitation to meet President Obama in Miami before an event in the Everglades.

    “I can confirm to you that he was invited to meet us upon arrival in Miami," spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters on the flight from Washington. He "characterized the invitation as standard procedure for presidential visits to a state," according to a press pool report. ...

  12. Americans for Prosperity launches radio ad against Medicaid expansion


    Americans for Prosperity says it's putting this ad on the radio, marking another push to dissuade lawmakers in Tallahassee from expanding Medicaid.


  13. Norman Braman begins financing pro-Rubio Super PAC


    Norman Braman is making good on his pledge to provide significant financial support to Marco Rubio.

    The Miami businessman and philanthropist said Wednesday he’s begun funding a Rubio Super PAC, but he would not be specific. “It will be significant and it will all be public,” Braman said. “You’re just going to have to be patient and wait.”...

  14. Bush, Rubio among 5 candidates Koch brothers evaluating


    The following is from USA Today:

    WICHITA, Kan. — Charles Koch said he is considering throwing his political might into the Republican presidential primary for the first time and is likely to provide financial help to several contenders before settling on a single candidate.

    Koch, his brother David and their team have identified five candidates who have the right message and "a good chance of getting elected," he told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview at Koch Industries' headquarters. They are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida....

  15. Obama's visit to Florida puts spotlight on Bush and Rubio's position on climate change


    President Obama will issue a call for action on climate change Wednesday in the Everglades, part of an ongoing White House push on the issue.

    "The Everglades is one of the most special places in our country,” Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday. “But it’s also one of the most fragile. Rising sea levels are putting a national treasure – and an economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry – at risk.”...