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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 and Clinton offer sharply different positions while campaigning in Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Puerto Rico's financial crisis loomed over dueling Friday campaign appearances by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Marco Rubio, two presidential contenders with sharply different positions on a key issue for Puerto Rican voters whose influence is growing in U.S. politics.

    In a speech delivered entirely in Spanish, the young Florida senator blamed Clinton supporters for the U.S. territory's economic problems as he railed against giving Puerto Rico bankruptcy protection to resolve a staggering $72 billion debt....

  2. Patrick Murphy fundraising pitch likens Alan Grayson to Donald Trump


    Patrick Murphy's campaign compared rival Alan Grayson to Donald Trump in a fundraising email, the latest in an escalating fight between the Democratic U.S. Senate candidates.

    Grayson hit back with a reminder that former Republican Murphy was among a handful of House Democrats to vote for a panel investigating Hillary Clinton over Benghazi.

    "A Republican Romney backer who supported the Benghazi witch hunt? @PatrickMurphyFL has more in common with @realDonaldTrump," Grayson wrote on Twitter....

    Patrick Murphy fundraising email
  3. The rise of dark money in 2016, unlimited and anonymous

    State Roundup

    It looks like any political ad, opening with Sen. Marco Rubio warning that "evil is confronted or defeated or it grows and it spreads." A narrator marks the day President Barack Obama announced the Iran deal, a nuclear bomb exploding on the screen.

    "Congress can stop it," the ominous voice says. "Marco Rubio is leading the fight. Tell your senators to join Marco Rubio and defeat Obama's deal with Iran."...

    A screen grab from recent TV commercial from Conservative Solutions Project, a “social welfare” group with ties to Sen. Marco Rubio. The ad featured Rubio’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and urged people to get their elected officials on board.
  4. Jeb Bush launches first TV ad of campaign


    Jeb Bush is launching his first TV ad, a $500,000 effort aimed at New Hampshire and beginning next week.

    "This is the first step in a multi-week process where we will be expanding our advertising in New Hampshire and the other early states," spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. "Our first television ad will highlight Governor Bush’s strong conservative record of reform and his plan to change the culture in Washington. He is the only candidate with the proven record of conservative leadership and results to take on the entrenched special interests in our nation’s capital to restore opportunity for all Americans"...

  5. Rep. Kathy Castor supports Iran deal


    Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said this morning that she support the Iran nuclear deal.

    That brings the Florida House Democrat tally to four in favor (Castor, Frederica Wilson, Corrine Brown and Patrick Murphy) and two against (Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings):

    Here is Castor's statement:

    “Since the announcement of the JCPOA, I have read, reviewed and researched the efficacy of the agreement, met with passionate and informed constituents, and participated in a number of classified briefings on the subject.  My overriding concern is whether or not the agreement is in the national security interest of the United States.  After careful review and discussions, I believe that it is....

  6. Rubio disagrees with Puerto Rican bailout, opposing Bush


    Marco Rubio opposes a bankruptcy bailout for Puerto Rico, he says in an op/ed, establishing a difference with Jeb Bush.

    "Allowing Puerto Rican municipalities to reorganize their debts under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code would not solve Puerto Rico’s problems and should only be a measure of last resort considered if Puerto Rico takes significant steps to fix its budget and economic mess,” Rubio writes in Spanish, in El Nuevo Dia....

  7. Bush, Rubio attempt to balance religious rights with government duty in response to Kentucky clerk case


    Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio both called for a middle ground in the controversial case involving the Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Their careful responses illustrate an attempt to balance pressures the situation has presented, with religious conservatives on one side and those (including Supreme Court Justice Scalia) who say the clerk, Kim Davis, has an obligation to uphold the law, like it or not....

    Republican presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush a speaks to employees at Foss Manufacturing during campaign stop Thursday in Hampton, N.H,
  8. Did Reince Priebus get Trumped?


    On Wednesday, Donald Trump dug the GOP’s hole with Hispanics deeper, lashing out at Jeb Bush for using Spanish. On Thursday Trump got a personal visit from RNC chairman Reince Priebus and another huge wave of media attention.

    Priebus was trying to smoke out Trump, who refused to rule out a third-party run during the first debate. Did he think the master salesman would take the bait? If anything the stunt handed a certificate of legitimacy to Trump, who has been accused by Jeb Bush of not being a true conservative....

    Donald Trump, certifiable Republican
  9. Today in Trump v. Bush


    Today in Trump v. Bush:

    -- Jeb Bush defended his use of Spanish and called Trump a divisive force who doesn't share American values.

    -- Trump signed the RNC's pledge not to run as a third-party candidate and to support the GOP nominee. During a news conference he continued to attack Bush as "low energy" and a loser who has tanked in the polls....

    Trump's pledge, and Bush's
  10. Rep. Frederica Wilson becomes 100th House Democrat to support Iran deal


    U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson today became the latest Democrat -- and the 100th overall, according to her office -- to support the Iran deal.

    That brings the Florida House Democrat tally to three for (Wilson, Corrine Brown and Patrick Murphy) and two against (Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings)

    Here is Wilson's statement:

    “After careful consideration of the arguments and analyses from all sides, I have decided that I will support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed upon by Iran and the P5+1....

  11. Rubio backers among leading TV ad spenders so far


    Marco Rubio's team is one of the biggest spenders far in the TV race, according to figures reported by NBC News' First Read.

    We presume most of the $2.6 million for Rubio has come from the nonprofit Conservative Solutions Project, which has run Iran deal ads featuring the Florida Republican.

    All told there has been $16 million in TV spending this cycle vs. $2 million at the same point in the 2012 election, according to NBC's ad tracker SMG Delta....

  12. Jeb Bush defends speaking Spanish, says Donald Trump doesn't share American values


    Jeb Bush this morning reacted to Donald Trump criticizing him for using Spanish, calling his rival a divisive, unserious person who "doesn't believe in tolerance."

    "I think Donald Trump is trying to insult his way to the presidency and it's not going to work," Bush said on Good Morning America. "People want an uplifting hopeful message. People come to this country to pursue their dreams, sometimes they start without speaking English but they learn English and they add vitality to our country."...

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican presidential hopeful, speaks to students during a town-hall style meeting at La Progresiva Presbyterian School in Miami on Tuesday.
  13. Stephen Colbert wants in on Jeb Bush's fundraiser


    Jeb Bush has some explaining to do when he appears Tuesday on the first Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

    (After the video below was released, Bush replied. Watch that here.)

  14. At Miami fundraiser, Joe Biden praises Bernie Sanders' populist appeal


    Joe Biden praised Bernie Sanders at a DSCC fundraiser in Miami on Wednesday night but skipped mention of Hillary Clinton.

    "He did say that Bernie Sanders was doing a great job exciting his crowds," a Democrat told pool reporter Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal. Biden, considering an entry in the Democratic primary, said specifically, "I’m not a populist like Bernie."

    He said it in the context of 2016 Senate races and how important it was to get engaged. Biden was not asked about running for president and therefore did not answer, the Democrat said, adding he focused on the Iran deal....

    Vice President Joe Biden at Miami-Dade College on Sept. 2, 2015
  15. Trump to Bush: Habla inglés, por favor


    “I like Jeb. He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”

    -- Donald Trump, as quoted today by Breitbart News.

    "Experience should be in a luxury hotel of 400 rooms or more. Effective supervisory skills. Bi-lingual English/Spanish desired. Should be detailed and highly organized. Must have flexible availability."...