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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. Gitmo surfacing in Florida's U.S. Senate race


    Questions over the fate of Guantanamo Bay are likely to resonate in next year’s U.S. Senate general election, and already Republicans are targeting Democrat Patrick Murphy for votes in support of closing the facility.

    The research group America Rising — jumping on the disclosure of a memo from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clintonsuggests the issue could play in Florida and a number of other states with closely-watched Senate races....

    Gitmo in 2002
  2. Jeb Bush adds eight more staffers in crucial New Hampshire


    Jeb Bush, still struggling to find his footing in the season of Trump, is putting his focus on New Hampshire.

    Today, his campaign said it had added eight paid staffers in the state, making 20 total.

    "We added 4 new regional offices in Littleton, Laconia, Dover, Keene. We have 5 offices in total including Manchester HQ," the campaign said. "Gov. Bush is committed to running a New Hampshire campaign focused on building the strong grassroots support necessary to be successful in February. Our operation will continue to grow in the coming months as we get closer to primary day. The addition of staff and regional field offices throughout the state allows us to build on what is already the best organization in the Republican field."...

  3. Hillary Clinton thought 'Mittens' Romney could lose Florida


    An email from the latest State Department release of Hillary Clinton communications show she was concerned that Mitt Romney, whom she called Mittens, could lose Florida's 2012 GOP primary to Newt "Grinch" Gingrich.

    Clinton, who thought a loss could bring changes to ballot access, sent the email to confidant Sidney Blumenthal. Romney won the primary in a blowout.

    Hillary Clinton email
  4. Herman Cain: 'Jeb Bush has been doing nothing but losing'


    Herman Cain — remember him? — isn’t happy with Jeb Bush, who last week in Sarasota cited the 2012 former presidential candidate as evidence that current front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson will fade.

    “If you want to say I had a ‘fall,’ go ahead, I guess,” Cain wrote on his website. “You can’t fall when you’ve never gotten any higher than the floor in the first place, and that’s the state of the Jeb Bush campaign. A guy with his name, his money and the team behind him should be one of the top-tier contenders, and he should certainly not be letting Donald Trump wipe the floor with him if Trump is as unserious and unqualified as Bush would have you believe....

  5. Jeb Bush's latest ad features Medal of Honor recipients


    Jeb Bush’s campaign is launching a new TV ad featuring Medal of Honor recipients vouching for his ability to lead in tough times.

    “This is no reality show. This is serious business,” says retired Marine Corps Maj. General James Livingston. The screen then shows President Obama, whom Livingston said required “training wheels."

    The ad will run for three weeks, at a cost of $600,000, in New Hampshire and Boston starting tomorrow, the campaign said....

  6. 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."...

  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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....

  12. 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....

  13. 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....

  14. 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."...

  15. 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....