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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. Jeb Bush seeks authenticity by standing ground on key issues

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Like many conservatives, Gayle Trotter disagrees with Jeb Bush on a range of issues, but as she listened to him Thursday, something happened.

    "I had never seen him speak live before and was surprised how much he personally appealed to me," Trotter, 43, said after Bush finished remarks at a National Review forum at the opulent Willard Hotel.

    "I have new respect for him, for his presentation and the way he was able to engage the questions," added Trotter, a prominent lawyer in Washington....

    Republican U.S. presidential hopeful and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush participates in the National Review Institute 2015 Ideas Summit on Thursday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  2. In S.C., Jeb Bush and other GOP hopefuls run against Obama, terrorism


    The following is from the Associated Press

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican presidential hopefuls eventually will have to start running against each other. But, for now, many are content to run against President Barack Obama, Iran and Middle East extremists.

    At the South Carolina Republican convention, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, called the president's international stewardship "an unmitigated disaster. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum called Obama "weak." Rick Perry, Texas' former governor, blasted "vacillation" by the administration. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called the president "feckless" on the world stage. And Graham and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas echoed each other as they accused Obama of "leading from behind."...

  3. Columba Bush to appear at fundraiser with Jeb


    Columba Bush is getting more comfortable with the campaign, and will appear with her husband at May 18 fundraiser in Miami that carries a very low entry fee: $25.

    Also featured: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

    Fundraising notice
  4. Step aside Rubio and Bush, another Floridian is running for president


    Mike Huckabee, a Florida resident, put out a video this morning that amounts to an announcement he is running for president.

    Huckabee built a $3 million home in the panhandle in 2010, but he'll formally announce next week in Arkansas, where he was governor. His 2008 bid generated a lot of buzz early on, and the backing of Marco Rubio and others.

    Rubio is now a rival, as would be Jeb Bush. Ben Carson, who lives in West Palm Beach, is also close to announcing, but like Huckabee he's not really thought of as a Floridian. Carson will announce in Detroit....

  5. Bill Nelson to fight Obama's Atlantic oil drilling plans


    Sen. Bill Nelson says he will file a bill Friday that would blockan Obama administration move to allow oil and gas explorers to conduct seismic tests off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

    “Drilling off Florida’s Atlantic coast would be unwise and impractical,” said Nelson, a Democrat. “It would interfere with military operations off of Jacksonville and rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Air Force base, not to mention the environmental hazards it would pose. If you’re not going to drill there, then why do the seismic testing?"...

  6. Jeb Bush says his mother and 'Baltimore mom' have a lot in common


    Jeb Bush on Thursday suggested rioters in Baltimore should have been met with more force, and he compared the now-famous mother seen slapping her son for participating in the mayhem to his own mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush.

    "I think my mom and the woman who was bringing her child back home have a lot in common," Bush said, referring to Internet smash Toya Graham. "I admire her a lot for doing what she did,” Bush said during a National Review event in Washington. “It was a nice visual symbol of what needs to be restored.”...

    "Baltimore mom" and Barbara Bush
  7. Vern Buchanan won't run for Senate


    Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said Thursday he will not run for Marco Rubio's Senate seat, citing his rising clout as a member of Ways & Means.

    "The decision came down to where could I make the biggest difference in serving Florida and improving the lives of the middle class" Buchanan said, "and the answer was pretty clear -- as a senior member on the committee that oversees the tax code, Social Security, Medicare and international trade."...

  8. Marco Rubio and Grover Norquist once differed on taxes


    Marco Rubio laid it down this week on Instagram. “I will oppose and veto ANY and ALL efforts to increase taxes.”

    The declaration followed his re-upping of Grover Norquist’s tax “Pledge,” which Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform celebrated in a news release. Rubio had signed it twice before, as a state legislator and U.S. Senate candidate....

    A screenshot from Marco Rubio's campaign website
  9. Brett Doster heads to S.C. to work for Jeb


    Brett Doster, the easy-going Florida political operative, is heading to South Carolina to work for Jeb Bush. He joins Jim Dyke as the first paid staffers in the key primary state.

    Doster will work as a "senior adviser" to Bush's Right to Rise PAC, which Bush has used to build a staff.

    His ties to Bush are deep, starting when he was a young assistant to Bush during his 1994 gubernatorial campaign. He also worked as campaign manager for Tom Gallager in 2006 and was Florida executive director for Bush-Cheney in 2004. He's worked with Mitt Romney, Pam Bondi and Jeff Atwater....

  10. Money buddies: Jeb and Marco fundraise in D.C. Thursday


    It was going to happen: Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio raise money today in the same city, Washington.

    Rubio will raise money at the home of the formidable Wayne Berman. Bush has a “coffee and discussion” (which costs at least $1,000, per person) hosted by prominent lobbyists and Bush family allies.

    Bush is the fundraising king of the GOP, so far, but he’s competing in a new world in which donors can deposit millions at a time in Super PACs. Bush has one. But so does Rubio, with billionaire backer Norman Braman....

  11. Gyrocopter incident draws heat in congressional hearing (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — A Ruskin man's gyrocopter stunt may have failed to provoke much conversation on the role of money in politics, but it exposed serious holes in security around the nation's capital, drawing blistering recriminations from lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday.

    Top aviation and law enforcement officials conceded they were unaware of the gyrocopter until right before it landed on the U.S. Capitol lawn two weeks ago....

    U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, imitates a Capitol Police officer holding a rifle as he questions witnesses on Wednesday.
  12. Jeb Bush cuts TV ad for Lenny Curry in Jacksonville mayoral race


    Jeb Bush is featured in a new TV ad for Jax mayoral candidate Lenny Curry.

  13. Rubio wants Japanese leader to address 'comfort women'


    From the Associated Press:

    LOS ANGELES - Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is warning that China is exploiting a rift between Japan and South Korea over World War II “comfort women,” and he hopes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the sensitive dispute in his address to Congress.

    Abe has faced demands that he use his U.S. trip this week to speak to Japan’s use of tens of thousands of sex slaves to serve Japanese troops during the war. As many as 200,000 “comfort women” from Korea, China and other countries were forced into sex slavery....

  14. Jeb Bush emphasizes his Hispanic side


    Jeb Bush is playing up his Hispanic side:

    On Sunday in Miami Beach he dined with Zeus Rodriguez, president of Hispanics for School Choice in Wisconsin. Rodriguez won a lunch with Jeb contest, Bush’s campaign in waiting said.

    On Tuesday in Puerto Rico, Bush spoke in English and Spanish and talked about immigration. As the Washington Post reported, Bush “reiterated his support for Puerto Rican statehood and said that the next president should help make Puerto Rico a state if residents vote to do so. He reminded the crowd that he knows “the power of the immigrant experience,” because “I married a beautiful girl from Mexico. My children are bicultural and bilingual.”...

  15. Lincoln Diaz-Balart lands job with Univision


    Former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart has been hired as an analyst for Univision, the network announced Tuesday.

    “Lincoln’s extensive experience as a legislator and his profound knowledge of the issues and challenges facing our country make him an asset to Univision News,” said Daniel Coronell, Univision News' executive vice president and executive director. “His valuable contributions to the political discussion will strengthen our news and electoral coverage throughout the 2016 election cycle, bringing our audience expert commentary and analysis from the Republican perspective. We are delighted to welcome him to our world-class news team.”...