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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. Shots fired between potential Senate rivals Ron DeSantis and Alan Grayson

    Blog

    Rep. Ron DeSantis used President Obama's news on Cuba today to fire shots at U.S. Senate rival Patrick Murphy. But he also included Alan Grayson, who is nearing a decision whether to get in the race.

    Grayson this afternooon hit back.

    "Congressman DeSantis is correct that standing up for human rights in Cuba is not a partisan issue, despite his effort to make it one​," Grayson said in a statement circulated by an operative who is expected to join the campaign. "Unfortunately, it's obvious that he hasn't been paying attention. Congressman DeSantis may feel that he has to talk a good game on Cuba, but when it comes to Cuba, talk isn’t just cheap, it’s worthless. While he has pontificated, I've been working hard to hold the Castro regime accountable as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.  I’ve been outspoken in defense of freedom in Cuba since I took office in 2009.  It's become abundantly clear to everyone that the policies of the 1960s don’t work anymore, but I stated both publicly and privately to the Administration that the current shift in relations with Cuba is too much carrot, and not enough stick. So, Congressman DeSantis, if you are serious about putting your head down, rolling up your sleeves and getting to work to help bring freedom to Cuba, I say welcome to you, and better late than never.”...

  2. Obama announces reopening of U.S. embassy in Cuba

    Blog

    Saying "We don’t have to be imprisoned by the past," President Barack Obama this morning announced the U.S. would reopen an embassy in Cuba this summer, a major step in restoring relations with the communist country severed in 1961.

    Formaly diplomatic ties will begin July 20, after a notification period to Congress.

    "There are Americans who want to travel to Cuba," Obama said from the Rose Garden. "There are American business that want to invest in Cuba. … Above all Americans want to get to know their neighbors to the south."...

    A Cuban and American flag wave from the balcony of the Hotel Saratoga in Havana. President Barack Obama will announce on Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, various reports say.
  3. Bush and Rubio in middle of 'muddled' pack in Iowa

    Blog

    A new Q poll from Iowa shows Scott Walker ahead but ... Donald Trump in second, reflecting an unsettled field in a still early presidential nominating process.

    Walker got 18 percent of the vote from likely GOP caucus participants, down from 25 percent in late February and 21 percent in May.

    "Jostling for second place are Donald Trump and Ben Carson, at 10 percent each, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 9 percent each, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida at 8 percent and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 7 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has 5 percent. No other candidate is above 4 percent and 5 percent are undecided," read a polling memo....

  4. Obama to announce re-opening of embassy in Cuba

    Blog

    President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday an agreement to re-establish formal diplomatic ties with Cuba and reopen embassies closed more than a half century ago.

    It marks a significant next step in a rapprochement that is bound to stir animosity among Florida's hardline Cuban immigrant community.

    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami said in a statement that an embassy "will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping."...

    A Cuban and American flag wave from the balcony of the Hotel Saratoga in Havana. President Barack Obama will announce on Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, various reports say.
  5. By the numbers: Jeb Bush's tax returns

    Blog

    Jeb Bush released an astounding 33 years of tax returns on Tuesday.

    By the numbers:

    36%: Total effective tax rate

    33: Total number of years released

    1,150: Total pages for all 33 years

    $1.1 million: Average speech income per year since leaving office (see list in jump)

    $739,511: Total given to charity since leaving office...

  6. Jeb Bush releases 33 years of tax returns

    Blog

    The Bush family mantra has been consistent for generations: First make a lot of money, and then focus on public service.

    Jeb Bush followed that path before running for governor of Florida in the 1990s, and 33 years of newly released tax returns show how the Republican embraced that strategy with zeal before launching his presidential campaign this year.

    Bush’s income jumped from $261,000 in 2006, his final year as governor, to more than $2.2 million in 2007. Then, from 2010 through 2013, tax returns released Tuesday show his annual income exploded from $3.2 million to nearly $7.4 million. (He got an extension until Oct. 15 to file his 2014 return.)...

  7. Jeb Bush's income soared after he left office, 33 years of tax returns show

    State Roundup

    The Bush family mantra has been consistent for generations: First make a lot of money, then focus on public service.

    Jeb Bush followed that path before running for governor of Florida in the 1990s, and 33 years of newly released tax returns show how he embraced that strategy with zeal before launching a presidential campaign this year.

    His income jumped from $261,000 in 2006, his final year as governor, to more than $2.2 million in 2007. Then, from 2010 through 2013, tax returns released Tuesday show his annual income exploded from $3.2 million to nearly $7.4 million....

    Jeb Bush's income jumped from $261,000 in 2006, his final year as Florida governor, to more than $2.2 million in 2007. Then, from 2010 through 2013, tax returns released Tuesday show his annual income exploded from $3.2 million to nearly $7.4 million. (He got an extension until Oct. 15 to file his 2014 return.)" [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  8. Gwen Graham raising money in Tampa

    Blog

    U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham has a who's-who list of list of backers for a fundraiser in Tampa today. The first-term Democrat from Tallahassee is one of the GOP's top targets in Florida.

    Gwen Graham fundraising notice
  9. Jeb Bush, now and then, on same-sex marriage

    Blog

    In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage, Jeb Bush talked of judicial restraint and appointing the right people to the bench.

    “Right now, we should focus on defending religious liberty by protecting those who act on their conscience and appointing judges who understand the limits placed on them by the Constitution,” his spokeswoman said, when asked about a Constitutional amendment proposed by Scott Walker....

  10. Jeb Bush calls Confederate flag a 'racist' symbol

    Blog

    Campaigning in South Carolina today, Jeb Bush offered his strongest remarks on the Confederate flag, calling it a "racist" symbol.

  11. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio criticized in TV ad about climate change, Pope Francis

    Blog

    Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are featured in a TV ad criticizing Republicans for not heeding Pope Francis’ “urgent moral call” on climate change.

    The ad from Americans United for Change is running on TV and radio in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, IA and Manchester, NH. "Paid digital ads on Twitter and Facebook will also encourage voters in these early primary states to view the ads at www.PopeorKochs.com," the group says....

  12. Jeb Bush meets with 60 clergy in Charleston

    Blog

    From the Post and Courier in Charleston:

    Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush met with about 60 clergy from North and South Carolina today behind closed doors at a North Charleston hotel.

    Those who attended the meeting, which was closed to the media, said afterward that Bush told them about his personal story and beliefs and took questions on his political stances. He only lightly addressed this month’s shootings at the Emanuel AME Church that killed nine....

  13. Jeb Bush Super PAC preps for TV spending in Florida

    Blog

    The Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush is looking at television advertising in Florida, according to documents filed with the FCC.

    Right to Rise USA sought advertising rates from WFTX-TV in the Naples/Fort Myers area. The stated issue is “2016 presidential primary election.” (@KevinCate was first to spot the paperwork.)

    The committee is run by Mike Murphy, who is based in Los Angeles....

  14. Rubio draws support from prominent Jewish leader, fundraiser

    Blog

    The following is from Jewish Insider, which reports on Phil Rosen backing Marco Rubio. Rosen is a formidable figure on his own but is also close to Sheldon Adelson, whom Rubio is courting.

    Phil Rosen, a co-chair of Weil Gotshal’s real estate practice and well-known Jewish leader, has officially endorsed Marco Rubio and will serve as a foreign policy advisor for the campaign. Rosen, one of Mitt Romney’s top bundlers in 2012, was highly sought after by several candidates. Rosen told Jewish Insider, “For several months I’ve been talking with most of the 2016 Republican field about their individual campaigns, paths to victory and policy positions.” Rosen noted that although he’s impressed with the candidates and finds this cycle’s field to be “light years ahead of, and better than most of, the 2012 candidates,” he made the “difficult” decision to “throw my weight behind Senator Marco Rubio.”...