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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. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire.

Phone: (202) 306-4807

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Rubio: Town halls designed to 'heckle and scream' at me for the cameras

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio over the weekend continued to defend his decision not to hold a town hall, saying they don't result in productive engagement.

    “They are designed to basically heckle and scream at me in front of cameras," he said on CBS4.

    "They are not town halls anymore,” Rubio said. “And I wish they were, because I enjoy that process very much, going back to my time as speaker of the House.”...

  2. Rick Scott has lunch with Trump at White House

    Blog

    WASHINGTON -- Gov. Rick Scott had lunch today at the White House with President Trump and Gov. Scott Walker.

    The White House called it a working lunch "to discuss how best to solve the problems of Obamacare, with a special emphasis on the states’ role in healthcare."

    Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio had dinner with Trump....

  3. As Trump is learning, it's not so easy to reject the president's paycheck

    National

    The government owes Donald Trump.

    Right about now, the 45th president is due to receive his first paycheck, part of a $400,000 annual salary delivered in monthly installments.

    But the billionaire said during the campaign that he wouldn't take the pay. Is he backsliding on a promise?

    The White House says no, but things are more complicated.

    "He is required to get a paycheck but will be giving it back to (the) treasury or donating," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in email, adding that the staff was trying to determine the legal process to do so....

    President Donald Trump speaks Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]
  4. Rubio defends town hall stance, says people on both sides get 'rude and stupid'

    Blog

    Activits didn't give up on Sen. Marco Rubio after seeing him yesterday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and challenging him to hold a town hall. Later that day came this exchange in which Rubio explains that "people get rude and stupid, on both sides."

    "Let him tape it," Rubio says to an apparent aide. He explains that he ran for office in opposition to Obamacare and it would be unfair to those who voted for him to change his opinion. ...

  5. Rubio outlines what he did in Europe

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio's office, which for days declined to detail his trip to Europe, outlined his travels.

    From his website:

    On Monday in Germany, he received a country briefing at the U.S. embassy and met with American foreign service officers and intelligence officials stationed in Berlin. He also met with German officials, including Ursula von der Leyen, Defense Minister; Dr. Christoph Heusgen, National Security Advisor and Head of Foreign Relations, Global Affairs, and External Security; and Markus Erderer, State Secretary....

  6. Rubio, suddenly back from Europe, is confronted in Miami

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio surfaced in Miami today and was confronted by an activist who wants to know why he isn't holding a town hall, like many other lawmakers across the country this week.

    The scene adds to a strange series of events surrounding Rubio's whereabouts.

    "Senator, I thought you were in Europe," a man asks in a video posted on Facebook. "I saw all these missing child posters all over town. ... Are you going to host a town hall? Senator, I thought you were in Europe. Rubio's office said Monday he was in Europe but refused to provide more than basic details to the Tampa Bay Times. We assumed he was still overseas....

  7. GOP ad likens Sen. Nelson to Elizabeth Warren

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - In what may be the first campaign ad against Sen. Bill Nelson, Republicans today debuted a Facebook spot that asserts the Florida Democrat is not much different than liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

    The NRSC said the ad will target people who “lean conservative” and independents statewide; it would not reveal how much money is behind the ad. Nelson is up for re-election in 2018....

    Facebook ad
  8. What's Marco Rubio doing in Europe?

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - As lawmakers are home facing often hostile crowds at town halls, Sen. Marco Rubio is somewhere overseas right now on what his office calls an “official oversight trip” whose mission includes discussing “Russian aggression in Europe.”

    On Monday, Rubio’s office said he would “attend multiple bilateral meetings with heads of state and senior government officials in Germany and France, two countries with upcoming elections who are facing concerns about Russian interference.”...

  9. Anti-abortion activists target Sen. Nelson in Gorsuch confirmation battle

    Blog

    Anti-abortion activists working to confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will demonstrate outside Sen. Bill Nelson's Tampa office tomorrow.

    Local activists will be joined by members of Susan B. Anthony List for the noon event, according to a release.

    Nelson, up for re-election in 2018, faces pressure from the right and left....

  10. Trump advisor Stephen Miller to attend Fox News town hall in Jacksonville

    Blog

    Fox News is hosting a town hall from Jacksonville at 7 tonight that will focus on immigration.

    Among those attending is Stephen Miller, the 31-year-old aide to President Trump who was involved in the crafting of the controversial travel ban, and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who has drawn fire for complying with Trump's directive on sanctuary cities.

    "Moderated by Martha MacCallum, the town hall will feature a dialogue between key newsmakers and Florida voters on the issue of immigration in the context of national security and jobs."...

  11. Trump's visits to Florida costing taxpayers millions

    Blog

    CBS News looks at the costs of President Trump's frequent travel to Florida, which by some estimates is up to $10 million.

    The piece includes an interview with Tom Fitton of the conservative Judicial Watch, which is pressing the White House to reveal the costs. Trump has gone to Florida the past three weekends. "He doesn't need to go to Florida every weekend," Fitton says. "He can work at the White House or up at Camp David."...

  12. Trump golfed more than a 'couple' holes in Florida

    Blog

    The White House today acknowledged that President Trump played more than a "a couple" holes of golf yesterday in Florida.

    "As stated yesterday the President played golf. He intended to play a few holes and decided to play longer," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "He also had a full day of meetings, calls and interviews for the new NSA, which he is continuing today before returning to Washington, D.C. Tonight."...

  13. Military jets buzz planes that violated restricted airspace while Trump in Florida

    Blog

    The following is from the Palm Beach Post:

    At least nine planes violated temporary flight restrictions through Monday morning for President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago stay, with at least two of those having the unique experience of being buzzed by military jets, federal officials confirmed this morning to The Palm Beach Post.

    Eight of those crossed the line on Friday alone, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement....

  14. Liberal activists plan 'empty chair' town hall for Rubio in Tampa

    Blog

    Liberal activists in Tampa on Wednesday will hold an “empty chair” town hall on behalf of Sen. Marco Rubio, part of an ongoing campaign that borrows from tea party tactics.

    “Join fellow Tampa Bay constituents as our invited (yet unconfirmed) guest Senator Marco Rubio hears and responds to constituent questions, concerns and issues brought forth in a format of an organized Q&A style evening,” reads a Facebook notice from Indivisible Tampa....

  15. Rubio in Europe this week for talks on 'Russian aggression'

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio will be in Europe this week for "multiple bilateral meetings" with German and French officials, according to Rubio's office.

    The trip comes as Congress is on recess.

    "Senator Rubio is traveling overseas this week to attend multiple bilateral meetings with heads of state and senior government officials in Germany and France, two countries with upcoming elections who are facing concerns about Russian interference," reads a note posted on Facebook....