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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. Rubio-Cruz battle escalates


    The battle between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz continues with an ad from a political nonprofit attacking the Texan as soft on terrorism.

    Cruz hit back on Fox News last night, accusing Rubio and his allies of trying to shift attention from Rubio’s immigration work.

    The ad comes from American Encore, a group that does not have to disclose donors. Politico reported that founder Sean Noble is backing Rubio and co-hosted a fundraiser for Rubio in Arizona last week....

  2. Hillary Clinton to hold rally in Orlando


    Hillary Clinton will hold a grassroots event Dec. 2 in Orlando, her campaign said.

    “During the event, Clinton will discuss the issues that keep Floridians up at night and how she’ll address them as president. Clinton has previously campaigned in Ft. Lauderdale, Davie, and Miami.”

    The location of the 1 p.m. event has not yet been named.

  3. Bill Nelson says Syrian refugees already face strict vetting; real problem with visa waivers


    Sen. Bill Nelson opposes legislation approved by the House last week to make it harder for Syrian refugees to enter the U.S., saying a rigorous screening process is already in place.

    Besides, the Florida Democrat said, the concern is with people who could arrive on a visa waiver agreement the U.S. has with 37 countries.

    “This is making political points,” Nelson said of the House bill, which is expected to come up in the Senate after the Thanksgiving break. Nelson predicted it may not get the 60 votes to clear a procedural hurdle....

  4. Sen. Bill Nelson calls for CENTCOM firings if manipulated intelligence reports are true


    Sen. Bill Nelson says people should be fired at CENTCOM if a report is true about the manipulation of intelligence regarding the fight against the Islamic State.

    "If the Inspector General finds out that the New York Times report is true, then people ought to be fired. Immediately," the Florida Democrat told the Tampa Bay Times in an interview Tuesday.

    Nelson said he relayed those concerns in a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter....

  5. Jeb Bush: Like Herman Cain, my opponents will slip


    From Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

    Jeb Bush cited the rise and fall of 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain as he sought to reassure supporters at a Longboat Key fundraiser Monday that their faith in him is well placed.

    By noting that Cain led in the polls at this point in 2012 only to flame out, Bush implied that current GOP front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson could follow the same path....

  6. Cruz pushes past Rubio, Bush in Iowa, poll shows


    Q poll of Iowa likely Republican caucus participants:

    Donald Trump - 25 percent

    Ted Cruz - 23 percent, double his support from a month ago

    Ben Carson - 18 percent

    Marco Rubio - 13 percent

    Rand Paul - 5 percent

    Jeb Bush  - 4 percent

    More here....

  7. Rubio's new TV ad focuses on bartender father


    Marco Rubio's first at for Iowa and New Hampshire tells the story of his bartender father.

    It begins Thursday in Iowa and next week in the Granite State, according to Rubio's campaign, which already has a national TV ad focused on the Paris attacks. Rubio has long gotten air support from a political nonprofit, Conservative Solutions Project....

  8. 'Dark money' group backing Rubio faces another complaint


    The political nonprofit running ads supporting Marco Rubio has become a magnet for election law complaints, the latest coming Monday with a group citing a lack of disclosure.

    The liberal American Democracy Legal Fund writes to the FEC: “Because Conservative Solutions’ television advertisements expressly advocate for the election of Senator Rubio, they are independent expenditures. Senator Rubio has said that he has nothing to do with Conservative Solutions, which, if true, indicates Conservative Solutions’ advertisements were ‘not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of’ Senator Rubio or his campaign. As such, Conservative Solutions should have been filing independent-expenditure reports with the Commission.”...

  9. Marco Rubio in second place in New Hampshire, poll shows


    Suffolk University poll of likely Republican voters in New Hampshire:

    Donald Trump - 22 percent

    Marco Rubio - 11 percent

    Ben Carson - 10 percent

    Ted Cruz and John Kasich - tied at 9 percent

    Jeb Bush - 8 percent

    From a release:

    “Donald Trump’s loyal 22 percent goes a long way in New Hampshire,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “As long as the remaining 78 percent is split relatively evenly among the six or seven major contenders, we’re getting close to ‘Trump-mate’ in the Granite State.”...

  10. What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of Nov. 23


    What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of Nov. 23

    Rubio on Monday continues a five-day Iowa swing with an 8:30 a.m. town hall in Carroll followed by a noon event in Council Bluffs. On Tuesday, Rubio has a town hall in Grinnell. On Wednesday, he is in South Carolina.

    Bush on Monday is fundraising in Port Charlotte and Longboat Key. On Tuesday he’s in Greenville, S.C., for a event at a Salvation Army followed by stops in Spartanburg and Rock Hill. He has no public events Wednesday and spends Thanksgiving with family in Miami. Saturday Bush attends the Mississippi State and Ole Miss football game, known as the Egg Bowl....

  11. Marco Rubio's first TV ad warns, 'What happened in Paris could happen here'


    Marco Rubio's campaign is out with its first TV ad, warning that "What happened in Paris could happen here."

    "These aren't disgruntled or disempowered people," Rubio says. "These are radical terrorists who want to kill us, because we let women drive, because we let girls go to school." The ad will run nationally starting Nov. 24, according to the campaign.


  12. John Kerry to Rick Scott: Screening of Syrian refugees is 'extraordinarily thorough'


    Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott that defends the vetting process for Syrian refugees as “extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive.”

    “Bottom line—under the current system, if there is doubt about whether an applicant would pose a security risk, that individual will not be admitted to the United States as a refugee,” reads the letter, co-signed by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson....

    Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott that defends the vetting process for Syrian efugees as “extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive.”
  13. How Bush and Rubio respond to Trump's call to close mosques


    Donald Trump wants to close down mosques in the U.S. and create a database to track Muslims — post-Paris efforts that have stirred debate and backlash.

    Jeb Bush denounced Trump this morning on CNBC, going farther than other Republican candidates. “You talk about internment. You talk about closing mosques. You talk about registering people. That’s just wrong,” Bush said. “I don’t care about campaigns. … It’s not a question of toughness. It’s manipulating people’s angst and their fears. That’s not strength, that’s weakness.”...

    Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, gives a speech on foreign policy and national defense, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, on the campus of The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.
  14. The congressional page who took down Florida Rep. Mark Foley


    Politico Magazine has a first-person account from the congressional page who leaked to the news media lewd messages from Florida Rep. Mark Foley.

    Working in Congress, you quickly realize how much it’s like any other office. There are the charming, warm-and-friendly types—J.C. Watts, who knew people by name, or Loretta Sanchez, who had an easy comfort with pages—and the confrontational types, like Jesse Jackson, Jr., who once accused a page of stealing a large pizza he had ordered and hiding it in the cloakroom....

  15. David Rivera investigation remains stalled


    By Patricia Mazzei and Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald

    Federal prosecutors have circled David Rivera for three years, trying to build a strong enough criminal case to prove the former Miami Republican congressman propped up a ringer candidate in the 2012 election.

    They got the ringer, Justin Lamar Sternad, to confess, and sent him to prison. They chased the woman who secretly funneled more than $81,000 to Sternad — Ana Alliegro, Rivera’s ex-girlfriend — to her Nicaragua hideout, and sent her to prison, too. They even got Alliegro, once out of prison, to testify to a grand jury that it was Rivera who had plotted the illegal campaign-finance scheme....