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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

  1. Marco Rubio: More gun restrictions will not prevent shootings


    Marco Rubio says more gun laws won't stop mass shooting such as the one in Oregon.

    "These gun laws just aren't effective at preventing this," he told radio host Mike Gallagher. "Gun crime is committed by criminals, criminals ignore the law. That's why they're criminals. If you pass a law that makes it harder for people to have weapons for defense, the only people that are not going to have them are the people that follow the law. Law-abiding people are going to follow the law. Criminals, by definition, ignore the law. They will still have their weapons."...

  2. Bush's 'stuff happens' comment causes latest headache


    Jeb Bush is under siege for saying “stuff happens” in the aftermath of yesterday's mass shooting in Oregon.

    Democrats pounced. But others said the comment — which spread across Twitter and made its way to a news conference with President Obama — was ripped out of context.

    A review of the video (transcript below) shows that Bush was not directly asked about the tragedy. "Liberal Dems & some in media distorted my words to advance their agenda in wake of tragedy," Bush wrote on Twitter. "It's wrong. Thx to those who set record straight."...

    Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, left, speaks at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson moderated the event.
  3. Winner-take-all Florida primary slows parade of presidential candidates

    State Roundup

    It was supposed to assert Florida's dominance in picking the Republican presidential nominee, but a move to push back the primary and award all delegates to the winner has rankled party activists who say it has made candidates wary of the state and could disenfranchise voters.

    "It was a mistake. It's almost taken Florida out of play," said Randy Osborne, chairman of the Marion County Republican Executive Committee, who has been trading messages with other local leaders....

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson meets supporters at the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday. Carson is one of several candidates not spending much time campaigning in Florida.
  4. Team Bush makes oppo moves against Rubio, Kasich and other rivals


    Team Bush is on the offensive, dispatching trackers to rivals’ events, including Marco Rubio yesterday in Iowa, and opposition researchers to John Kasich’s congressional library in Ohio.

    “I would think they’re in there because they’re nervous,” Kasich said today, urging the Bush researchers to spend money in the town....

  5. Trump staffs up in Florida


    A former aide to Gov. Rick Scott has been hired by Donald Trump to serve as his Florida director.

    Karen R. Giorno had worked as Scott's director of external affairs, according to a Trump release that announced directors in Texas and Virginia as well.

    "We are in this to win it," Trump said. "These staff additions are the continuation of our plan to have a strategic and significant presence across the country.  I am pleased that my vision to Make America Great Again has generated so much support and such a positive response that we are leading in all the polls.  By adding to our team in these critical states we will be able to build on the tremendous support we have received and share our message with even more voters in these states.,. . I look forward to being in these states even more as I continue to share my ideas about how to put America back on top!"...

  6. Rubio: I will stand up to Putin


    The U.S. and Russia are "barreling toward a Second Cold War," Marco Rubio will say in a speech today in Iowa, "and strong American leadership is the only force capable of ensuring that peace and security once again prevail."

    Rubio, who has gotten attention for his hard-line foreign policy outlook, is to speak in Cedar Rapids at the Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security National Security Forum....

  7. Bush tracker busted at Rubio event in Iowa


    From Politico's Marc Caputo:

    The Florida family feud between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio took a surprising turn on Thursday night when a tracker for a super PAC supporting the former governor tried to slip into an Iowa event for Rubio, whose staff quickly spotted and removed him.

    The incident involving the Right to Rise super PAC stripped away another veneer of civility between the two friends-turned-campaign rivals, who have been slowly escalating their criticisms of one another....

  8. With Clinton in Florida, Grayson goes after Murphy on Benghazi


    It won’t be the first time Alan Grayson has deployed the Benghazi attack on Senate rival Patrick Murphy. But Grayson has a generous hook Friday morning for a telephone conference call with reporters.

    Hillary Clinton arrives in Florida today for campaigning with the added juice of a major blunder by the man likely to replace House Speaker John Boehner. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California boasted to Fox News that the long-running Benghazi investigation had taken a political toll on Clinton....

  9. Jeb Bush slams Putin


    Here's video from Jeb Bush's wide ranging interview on Morning Joe. He talks about Syria and Putin, fundraising and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's comments about the Benghazi committee that has been investigating Hillary Clinton forever.

    "The Benghazi Committee exist because there should be an analysis of what actually happened and what the response was and if there was a cover-up afterwards," Bush said. "This isn't to try to damage Hillary Clinton and I don't quite understand why he said that. That's the problem with Washington right now. They're grasping to find something to say that they've done something positive. Well first of all, that's not positive and secondly, that's not the intent."...

  10. Jeb Bush didn't always question Marco Rubio's experience


    Jeb Bush on MSNBC's Morning Joe continue his light criticism of Marco Rubio, likening to him an untested leader a la Barack Obama.

    “I think I have the leadership skills to fix things and that's my strength and that's what I talk about and Marco was a member of the House of Representatives when I was governor and he followed my lead and I'm proud of that,” Bush said. 
    Right. But you don't think he has the leadership skills to fix things? 
    "It's not -- No. Barack Obama didn't end up having them and he won an election based on the belief that people had that he could and he didn't even try."

    In 2012, Bush didn’t seem to have reservations as he pushed Rubio for VP. Here is an exchange with Charlie Rose from 2012:...

  11. Clinton's State Dept. feared Rubio would hold up nominee


    High ranking aides to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton feared Sen. Marco Rubio would hold up a nominee in retaliation for the proposed Obama administration's prisoner exchange with Cuba in 2011.

    A statement Rubio issued went up the chain of command to Clinton, now of course a presidential rival of Rubio’s. "SMITF," (shoot me in the face) one person wrote to begin the thread....

    Email to Hillary Clinton aides about Sen. Marco Rubio
  12. Jeb Bush says the U.S. 'duty bound' to help Syrian refugees


    An interesting moment in New Hampshire for Jeb Bush on Wednesday. A woman told him her family members had fled Syria for Turkey, and then asked Bush what he was going to do to help.

    “I think we’re duty bound to provide support,” Bush said. “This is normally what we do unbelievably well. We act on our heart, we organize it well, we take care of people. This is typically with support of government, but it’s normally with organizations that do great work."...

  13. Florida Republicans split votes on measure to avoid shutdown


    The U.S. House this afternoon voted 277-151 to pass a measure to keep the government funded through December.

    Here's how Florida Republicans stood on the issue:


    Buchanan / Crenshaw / Curbelo / Diaz-Balart / Jolly / Ros-Lehtinen


  14. Jeb Bush says Marco Rubio followed his lead


    Jeb Bush today painted Marco Rubio as one of his disciples as he sees Rubio overtake him in the polls.

    "I'm a proven leader," Bush told CNN's Dana Bash in New Hampshire. "I disrupted the old order in Tallahassee. I relied on people like Marco Rubio and many others to follow my leadership and we moved the needle."

    Bush also knocked Rubio's message of turning the page....

  15. Rubio gains, and critics come at him

    State Roundup

    As Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC prepared for a conference call Wednesday to bash Marco Rubio's family leave proposal, Donald Trump tweeted a story about how Rubio has been propped up by Miami billionaire Norman Braman.

    "Anyone reading this profile of Marco Rubio would never vote for him. Never made ten cents & is totally controlled!" Trump tweeted.

    Welcome back to the spotlight, Mr. Rubio....