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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 on Planned Parenthood shooting: Focus on mental health issues


    Marco Rubio said Monday that mental health issues need to be better addressed in relation to shootings but stressed the federal government is not the answer to broader questions.

    Rubio spoke on a New Hampshire radio show and was asked for his “presidential prescription” for domestic terrorism. The host cited the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

    Rubio called it “horrifying” and focused on mental health.

    “As a country,” Rubio said on WKXL, “we need to be more serious about how we address mental health. I know there’s a bill working its way through Congress and that is something we should look at that will help improve things to some extent.

    “But I also think we need to look at our society at large. Why is it that these things are happening? It kind of leads you back to (that) the societal breakdown is a major contributor to some of the problems we face in this country. And not every problem in America has a federal government solution to it. A lot of them lie in our own homes, in our own neighborhoods, in our own communities.

    “Obviously mental health is an illness and needs to be treated as such. We need to be serious about people that have not just shown they have mental illness but have expressed violent tendencies and ensure that we have systems at the state and local level that are in place to address that before it turns into a violent incident."...

  2. White House offers Gov. Scott more information on Syrian refugees


    The White House sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott today defending the vetting process for Syrians and offering “more regular access to refugee resettlement information.”

    “This proposal responds to governors’ input while protecting the privacy of refugee families,” Whitehouse Chief of Staff Denis McDonough wrote in the letter.

    Scott has joined numerous other governors in opposing the resettlement of more refugees. Secretary of State John Kerry previously sent a letter to Scott explaining the vetting process as “extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive" -- language McDonough stood by today....

    Letter to Gov. Rick Scott
  3. RPOF names presidential primary candidates


    The Republican Party of Florida on Monday formally named the candidates for next March's presidential primary ballot.

    There has been concern the winner-take-all status of the primary and homestate favorites Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush would keep other candidates away. But the dynamics of the race continue to evolve and the state looks more competitive.

    Candidates who appeared at the recent Sunshine Summit were granted ballot access. Missing from the list is George Pataki, who did not attend the Orlando summit and missed the deadline to get on the ballot. "He will not be on the Florida ballot," RPOF spokesman Wadi Gaitan said....

    Letter to Secretary of State
  4. Darrell Issa endorses Marco Rubio


    Marco Rubio continues to pick up endorsements from Congress after a slow start on that front. Today, Rep. Darrell Issa was on Fox News.

    Issa praised Rubio for fighting Obamacare and was asked about his difference with Rubio over the NSA's data collection.

  5. Rubio super PAC up with new ad


    The super PAC supporting Marco Rubio is going up with this ad in Iowa and New Hampshire.

    "He took on the Republican establishment and won," the ad begins, invoking Rubio's 2010 U.S. Senate win. Conservative Solutions PAC said the ad would begin Dec. 1.

  6. Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for Bill Nelson, to retire


    Sen. Bill Nelson's longtime spokesman, Dan McLaughlin, will retire at the end of the year.

    Nelson announced the news to staff today.

    Dan McLaughlin, our Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, is retiring at year's end after more than 21 years of outstanding public service, the last 15 of which were in the U.S. Senate.  He has decided to pursue opportunities in the private sector, including his passion for oil painting and Florida art. Dan has been my confidant and friend all these years, and is recognized in both journalism and communications as one of the best....

  7. What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of Nov. 30


    What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of Nov. 30:

    Rubio on Monday is campaigning in New Hampshire. Tuesday he does the same in South Carolina and has a rally in Guntersville, Ala. Wednesday he is fundraising in Louisiana and Georgia. Thursday, Rubio is at the Republican Jewish Coalition's presidential candidate forum in Washington and raises money in New York. Friday, he's back in New Hampshire.

    Bush on Monday attends the Clinton County (Iowa) Republicans' 43rd Annual Fall event in Goose Lake. Tuesday morning he attends a "coffee and donuts with Jeb" event at University of Dubuque. At noon Bush will hold a town hall in Waterloo and that evening, another in Newton. On Wednesday morning he remains in Iowa for fundraising. Thursday, Bush will speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition's presidential candidate forum in D.C....

  8. Jolly looks to hinder Obama on Gitmo


    Rep. David Jolly is highlighting his role in securing a measure in the sweeping defense bill that hinders President Obama’s ability to close the military base at Guantanamo Bay.

    “Gitmo is a critical asset to our country’s national security, providing a persistent U.S. presence and immediate access to the region, as well as supporting a layered defense to secure the air and maritime approaches to the United States,” Jolly said in a release to be released Monday morning....

  9. Jeb Bush: 'In these serious times, (Trump's) not a serious leader'


    Appearing on Face the Nation, Jeb Bush continued to press his plans for taking out the Islamic State and drew a contrast with Donald Trump.

    “In these really serious times, he’s not a serious leader,” Bush said of Trump.

    ”I have great doubts about Donald Trump's ability to be commander in chief. If you listen to him talk, it's kind of scary to be honest with you, because he's not a serious candidate."...

  10. 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....

  11. 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.

  12. 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....

  13. 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....

  14. 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....

  15. 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....