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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. Clinton bails on South Florida event to focus on Nevada, and Sanders

    Blog

    Hillary Clinton's campaign said Friday night that she will not appear at a grassroots rally Monday in Palm Beach County.

    Bill Clinton will be her stand-in.

    Clinton is facing a tougher than expected challenge from Bernie Sanders and is shifting attention to Nevada, which holds caucuses before Florida's primary.

    Republicans are happy. “Hillary Clinton’s last minute decision to skip Florida is a clear sign that her campaign is in a crisis after her devastating loss to Bernie Sanders," said Wadi Gaitan of the Republican Party of Florida. "No matter how much the Clinton machine tries to spin their crisis, Floridians will continue to see the catastrophe of dishonesty, scandals and negative headlines that plague her campaign."...

  2. New Jeb Bush ad says Marco Rubio runs away from Trump 'in fear'

    Blog

    Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are afraid of Donald Trump, says a new super PAC ad for Jeb Bush.

    At one time Cruz was cozying up to Trump. But it's inaccurate to say he's not been critical of Trump, especially now in South Carolina. Rubio has been reluctant to engage Trump but began to this week.

    ...

  3. Rubio ad blasts Cruz on national defense

    Blog

    Part of Marco Rubio's challenge is he's facing fights on several fronts. Jeb Bush is trying to box him out of the establishment lane as Ted Cruz is in the conservative. Donald Trump looms, always.

    Today the pro-Rubio super PAC launched a new ad against Cruz over national defense.

    ...

  4. New Bush ad attacks Donald Trump on eminent domain

    Blog

    Jeb Bush's super PAC has this ad attacking Donald Trump.

  5. When Marco Rubio warned against targeting immigrants as terrorists

    Blog

    After telling audiences that he’s lived the immigration issue, Marco Rubio outlines a tough-on-security approach that raises the possibility of ISIS invading our homes and strikes this promise: “If we aren’t 100 percent sure who you are and why you’re coming to America, you’re not getting in.”

    As he navigates the issue he’s most vulnerable to conservatives on, Rubio’s past keeps surfacing. During the last big terrorism scare — 9/11 — Florida got perhaps the earliest look at Rubio’s more moderate immigration views....

  6. Vern Buchanan wants government to screen social media of foreigners

    Blog

    U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is pushing a bill that would require Homeland Security to screen Facebook, Twitter and other social media before allowing the entry of foreign travelers and visa applicants.

    Buchanan’s office highlighted Thursday that the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, expressed support for the idea.

    “A simple check of social media accounts of foreign travelers and visa applicants will help ensure that those who have participated in, pledged allegiance to, or communicated with terrorist organizations cannot enter the United States,” McCaul said in a statement. “I know this will be a useful tool for the Department of Homeland Security and will aid in securing our homeland."...

  7. George W. Bush to campaign with Jeb on Monday

    Blog

    The long-anticipated campaign trail debut of George W. Bush will happen Monday evening in North Charleston, S.C., Jeb Bush's campaign said.

    The former president has raised money for his brother and appears in a new ad from Bush's super PAC. The campaign is hoping to capitalize on South Carolina affinity for W, who will likely make the case Jeb is experienced and ready to be commander-in-chief....

    Jeb Bush with his brother
  8. Ted Cruz ad suggests Rubio played tea party

    Blog

    UPDATE: The Cruz campaign took down the ad after it was reported a woman actor had done soft porn.

    The war in South Carolina is on, and Ted Cruz launches this salvo against Marco Rubio.

    The ad features an actor playing a Florida voter saying he supported Marco Rubio in 2010 but then Rubio joined up on the immigration bill.

    ...

  9. Marco Rubio cracks a tooth — and Chris Christie isn't to blame

    Blog

    Marco Rubio cracked a tooth, and Chris Christie isn't to blame.

    Rather, a Twix.

    Rubio bit into the candy bar on a flight Wednesday evening to Washington, where he voted for North Korea sanctions.

    "I just bit into a Twix bar and I go, 'Man this Twix bar's got something really hard in it,'" Rubio told reporters Thursday in South Carolina. "And I go, 'Oh my gosh, I cracked my tooth.'"...

    Sen. Marco Rubio speaks a campaign town hall meeting Thursday in South Carolina.
  10. Marco Rubio no longer reluctant to go after Donald Trump (w/video)

    Blog

    Marco Rubio, who has drawn notice for his reluctance to go after Donald Trump, unleashed attacks Thursday on the South Carolina poll leader.

    "Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience. Negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience," Rubio said in Okatie.

    Rubio also blasted Trump for using “profanity,” a reference to Trump calling Ted Cruz a “pussy” during a rally in New Hampshire.

    That wasn’t all. Rubio also knocked Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz....

    Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican presidential hopeful, speaks during a campaign event at Magnolia Hall at Sun City on Hilton Head, S.C., on Thursday.
  11. Rep. Kathy Castor to lead congressional trip to Cuba

    Blog

    U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor is leading a congressional trip to Cuba on Saturday, her office said.

    The Tampa Democrat will be joined by Republican Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota and five other lawmakers. They will hold a news conference Saturday morning at Tampa International Airport.

    “Castor and Emmer last year filed legislation to lift the Cuban embargo and allow for businesses and the private sector to trade freely with Cuba,” reads a release. “They are also cochairs of the House Bipartisan Cuba Working Group, started late last year to press for congressional action to build on progress. This is U.S. Rep. Castor’s first trip to Cuba since diplomatic relations with the United States were restored.”...

  12. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio boast of 'massive' and 'huge' crowds in South Carolina

    Blog

    Jeb Bush’s press team finally has some news it can use.

    “Great front pages for Jeb Bush in South Carolina this morning,” read a news release Thursday. “The crowds have been massive for Jeb in South Carolina.”

    Marco Rubio, whom Bush beat in New Hampshire, is working to move past the debate and his team is working to shape perceptions as well. “Huge, Warm Welcome For Marco In South Carolina,” read a news release from the campaign, which talked of “standing room only” crowds.

    Both have work to do. The Real Clear Politics average of polls in South Carolina:

    Trump - 36 percent
    Cruz - 20 percent
    Rubio - 13 percent
    Bush - 10 percent...

  13. Jeb Bush is 63 today

    Blog

    John Ellis Bush is 63 years old today.

    Jeb Bush - Miami 1984
  14. Stripped of momentum, vulnerable Marco Rubio heads into South Carolina

    Blog

    Rick Santorum started it. Chris Christie kicked down the door. And the voters of New Hampshire finished the job.

    A disastrous series of events in New Hampshire engulfed Marco Rubio and sent him to South Carolina stripped of momentum and vulnerable.

    Rubio tried to smile through the aftermath of his robotic answers at the Saturday debate. He defended his performance and doubled down on his message so hard that he had another scripted moment Monday evening in Nashua....

  15. Stripped of momentum, vulnerable Marco Rubio heads into South Carolina

    State Roundup

    Rick Santorum started it. Chris Christie kicked down the door. And the voters of New Hampshire finished the job.

    A damaging series of events in New Hampshire engulfed Marco Rubio and sent him to South Carolina stripped of momentum and vulnerable.

    Rubio tried to smile through the aftermath of his robotic answers at the Saturday debate. He defended his performance and doubled down on his message so hard that he had another scripted moment Monday evening in Nashua....

    Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at a campaign rally with his sons Anthony, left, 10, and Dominick, 8, in Spartanburg, S.C.