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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. Obama golfing in Florida


    President Obama this afternoon is at Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City, continuing his love affair with the sport.

    Obama will remain there overnight and return to Washington tomorrow. He was greeted at the airport by Rep. Patrick Murphy, the Jupiter Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate, and Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson. According to the White House, his golfing partners are Ahmad Rashad, Cy Walker and Alonzo Mourning....

  2. Rubio says D.C. residents need guns to achieve the American Dream


    Sen. Marco Rubio says residents of the District of Columbia need guns to achieve the American Dream, and has proposed legislation to strip local officials of the right to regulate firearms.

    “In order to achieve the American Dream, people need to be able to live in safe communities and be able to protect themselves, their families and their properties from danger. The lawful exercise of the Second Amendment is part of what makes this possible,” Rubio said in a statement announcing the Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 2015....

  3. Jeb doesn't read the NYT? Come on


    Jeb Bush said today he doesn't read the New York Times, a dubious statement, at best.

    Bush made the remark during a Fox News radio interview and, as expected, Twitter lit up with commentary,

    How Bush -- the former governor, policy wonk and smartest guy in the room -- could not read the most influential news source in the country suggests there are limits to his pledge not to pander....

    The formerly Old Gray Lady
  4. Poll: Medicaid expansion remains 'very popular' in Florida


    The following is from Public Policy Polling:

    Even after being narrowly reelected in November, Rick Scott continues to have a negative approval rating. 42% of voters think he's doing a good job to 46% who disapprove. Those numbers speak to Scott's victory having more to do with driving Charlie Crist's favorability numbers into the ground than to doing much to become popular in his own right. There's been some talk of a 2018 dream Senate contest between Scott and Bill Nelson- at this point Nelson leads such a hypothetical contest 47/43. Nelson has a 43/31 approval rating which makes him the state's most anonymous key politician despite having been on the scene far longer than Scott or Marco Rubio....

  5. Jeb Bush: 'Stay the course' on Gitmo


    Jeb Bush just wrapped up an interview with a Fox News radio host and said the U.S. should not close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

    The discussion began when the host asked Bush about the desertion charges facing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

    "To try to bring back someone who turns out to have been a deserter is just heartbreaking," Bush said, speaking from a cell phone on the road in Texas, while an aide in the back seat streamed the interview on Meerkat. "The president is totally focused on closing Guantanamo as an organizing principle. And it's all based on politics. It's not based on keeping us safe, which should be his first obligation. We shouldn’t be closing down Guantanamo. We shouldn’t be releasing Taliban that are openly organizing once again to attack us."...

  6. Jeb Bush leads in New Hampshire, new poll shows


    Jeb Bush leads the GOP field in New Hampshire, but Scott Walker is close behind and the field remains open, according to a new poll from Suffolk University.

    Bush got 19 percent of the votert followed by Walker with 14 percent and Rand Paul with 7 percent. Donald Trump got 6 percent, ahead of Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, both with 5 percent. Marco Rubio was down at 3 percent along with Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson....

  7. Obama headed to Florida on Saturday


    President Barack Obama will travel to Palm City on Saturday, the White House said. He has no public events ... So golf?

    The ever tight-lipped WH press office would not say. He will return to Washington on Sunday.

  8. Alan Grayson tells national Dems he'd run a 'Barack Obama type campaign' for Senate


    Rep. Alan Grayson met with Sen. Jon Tester, head of the DSCC, this afternoon and said there was no attempt to dissuade him from running for Senate in 2016.

    “Absolutely not,” the Orlando Democrat told the Buzz.

    “I’m pleased to know that if I run the DSCC understands I will be a strong candidate,” he said.

    Grayson said he’s in no rush to decide. "Elizabeth Warren didn't announce her race until mid-September the year before the election. We're still in March. What’s the rush? I think most voters would appreciate the respite from politics....

  9. When Jeb Bush helped launch a covert mission to rescue Ethiopian Jews from starvation


    Jeb Bush this week has worked to assert his pro-Israel credentials after criticism from the right surfaced over comments James Baker, an adviser to Bush’s presidential campaign in waiting, made about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Bush first issued a statement distancing himself from Baker’s remarks, made to the liberal J Street on Monday, and on Wednesday, penned a National Review column bashing the Obama administration's relationship with Israel. This afternoon Bush's PAC put out an email soliciting donations to support candidates who “stand with Israel against a nuclear Iran.”...

  10. Poll shows Pam Bondi on top of hypothetical U.S. Senate race


    A new PPP survey finds a toss-up if Marco Rubio leaves his Senate seat, as expected. (Note, the pollsters think Allen West is still a Florida resident. He's not.)

    From a release:

    Hypothetical match ups between Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson on the Democratic side, and Jeff Atwater, Pam Bondi, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Allen West on the Republican side find the Democrats leading by an average of less than a point. All 8 of the match ups find the candidates separated by somewhere in the 2-7 point range....

  11. Scott Walker wants Marco Rubio ... As his VP?


    Scott Walker likes Marco Rubio ... For his VP.

    That's according to a story today in National Review, titled "Scott Walker is his own best political operative, and that's a problem."

    A Republican leader in Iowa says that, a couple of weeks after Walker'€™s Iowa speech, the governor called him and showered Florida senator Marco Rubio with compliments: "€œHe mentioned that if he were the nominee, he thought Rubio would make a terrific running mate," says the operative."...

  12. In Texas, the Bush family chases campaign cash together


    Jeb Bush's race for cash takes him to Texas today to begin a series of fundraisers featuring his family.

    George W. and Laura Bush will attend a fundraiser in Dallas today. On Thursday, George H.W. and Barbara Bush will attend one in Houston.

    Per the Dallas Morning News: The invitation, with the list of about 50 Texas supporters, indicates the millionaire-business class that have been big backers of establishment Republicans in Texas....

    Then-Gov. Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush in Jacksonville in 2001
  13. Alvin Brown-Lenny Curry showdown set for May


    The following is from the Florida Times-Union:

    Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown and Republican challenger Lenny Curry will face off in the May 19 general election, all but ensuring Jacksonville voters will see perhaps the most hard-charging — and expensive — City Hall election in recent memory, replete with endorsements, money and attention from statewide and national political figures....

  14. Rubio says Cruz will be 'a very strong candidate'


    Sen. Marco Rubio was on a Fox News radio show in Florida this morning and had kind words for Sen. Ted Cruz.

    "He's generated a lot of attention and excitement over the last few years in the Senate, so I think he’ll be a very strong candidate," Rubio said on Day Break with Drew Steele. (audio here)...

  15. Of birthers and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio


    Ted Cruz's entry into the presidential race raised an old question: Can the Canadian born Republican even be president?

    Most experts say yes, but that won't stop so-called birthers from pushing the issue. Expect it to bubble up, too, when Marco Rubio jumps in the race....