Mostly Cloudy86° FULL FORECASTMostly Cloudy86° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page

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. Patrick Murphy comes out in support of Iran nuclear deal


    U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy says he can back the Iran nuclear deal, call it "flawed" but "the best available option to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon."

    Murphy is running for U.S. Senate and his Democratic primary rival, Rep. Alan Grayson, has not said if he can support the deal. A number of other Florida Democrats remain undecided, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Sen. Bill Nelson is on board with the Obama administration....

  2. Jeb Bush faces distorted attacks from Walker, Trump


    The campaigns of Scott Walker and Donald Trump released videos today that attack Jeb Bush on the Iran deal and immigration. But both are distortions of Bush's position.

    Walker's video implies Bush favors the Iran nuclear deal. Bush does not, but he's shown caution (at times) about how quickly it could be unraveled by the next president. Walker is shown in the video saying he would kill it on "Day One," which is thename of the ad....

  3. Ben Carson makes move in Iowa; Bush and Rubio remain in middle of pack


    Donald Trump continues to lead in Iowa, but Ben Carson, who now lives in West Palm Beach, is moving up and is five percentage points from the boisterous New York celebrity developer, according to a new poll.

    The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll has Trump with 23 percent support and Carson with 18....

  4. What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of Aug. 31


    What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of Aug. 31.

    Rubio starts a two-day visit to Nevada on Monday with a rally in Reno. On Tuesday he has events in Carson City, Terington and Fallon. Wednesday he is in Oklahoma City. Thursday in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Rubio heads to Puerto Rico on Friday. It will be Rubio's first visit to P.R. as a candidate and it coincides with a trip there by Hillary Clinton....

  5. Bill Nelson 'concerned' with how Clinton campaign handling email controversy; says Biden won't run


    Sen. Bill Nelson added to criticism among Democrats of Hillary Clinton's handling of the email controversy, telling a crowd in West Palm Beach today that he is "concerned."

    But Nelson, who had encouraged Clinton to run, said she will "overcome" the storm. He also predicted Joe Biden will not run, and scoffed at Rick Scott challenging him in 2018.

    “I am concerned because I don’t think her campaign has handled it well,” Nelson said, according to George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post....

  6. Rubio: China 'a growing danger to our national security'


    Marco Rubio is giving a speech in North Charleston on China. Here are remarks as prepared for delivery:

    Today I’d like to discuss China’s rise in global affairs and what I’ll do as president to ensure it doesn’t undermine American interests. If there were any doubts about the importance of this topic, the financial events of the past week put them to rest.

    On Monday, due in large part to a crash in China’s stock market, our own markets suffered their worst day in four years. Insecurity and anxiety about the future – already high for America’s families – climbed even higher....

  7. Donald Trump keeps pounding 'low-energy' Jeb Bush


    Jeb Bush may be the hardest working candidate out there, a constant presence on the town hall and fundraising circuit. This week alone he was in Texas, Colorado, Utah, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

    But Bush, the self-styled “joyful tortoise," keeps getting attacked by Donald Trump as “low-energy." Morning Joe Scarborough actually posed it as a serious question today....

    A joyful tortoise
  8. As presidential campaigns take on national flavor, Iowa's role in nominating process narrows


    DES MOINES, Iowa — Just another day at the Iowa State Fair.

    A presidential candidate — Florida's Marco Rubio, but pick any — breezes past food-on-a-stick stands, shakes the hands of startled fairgoers, gazes at farm animals and then grills one, devouring the pork sandwich before the hive of reporters that hovers like a dust cloud.

    But behind the familiar spectacle lies worry about Iowa's coveted role in the nominating process....

    Sen. Marco Rubio is mobbed by the media at the Iowa State Fair last week.

(Alex Leary  |  Times)
  9. Rubio says as president he'd be a lot tougher on China


    Ahead of a speech tomorrow on China, Marco Rubio lays out what his posture would be like as president, calling for a firmer hand with the growing world power.

    "The U.S. must continue to pursue cooperation with China when possible, but we can no longer succumb to the illusion that more rounds of cordial dialogue with its rulers will effect a change of heart," he writes in the Wall Street Journal. "That is why President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington next week should not be canceled, but rather downgraded to a working visit from a state visit. This is an opportunity to speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler and achieve meaningful progress, not to treat him to a state dinner. If elected U.S. president next fall, I will approach China on the basis of strength and example, not weakness and appeasement....

  10. Joe Biden to give speech in Miami on Wednesday as presidential buzz grows


    Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a run for president, will give a speech next week at Miami-Dade College, the White House announced.

    "The Vice President will discuss the importance of helping more Americans go to college and the critical role that partnerships between community colleges and employers play in helping Americans obtain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce," according to a release....

  11. Pro-Clinton Super PAC to target Bush, GOP with immigration ad


    Priorites USA, a Super PAC backing Hillary Clinton, today announced a digital ad that attempts to cast Republicans as hostile to Hispanics.

    “Seventeen Republicans are running for president — with one message for immigrant families,” the ad begins before opening up with Donald Trump. There's a clip of Bush saying "anchor babies," and Scott Walker talking of ending birthright citizenship....

  12. Trump builds lead in national poll; Bush and Rubio tied for third


    Donald Trump has grown his lead over rival Republicans, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

    Trump has 28 percent of the vote, up from 20 percent in a July 30 national survey. “This is the highest tally and widest margin for any Republican so far in this election,” reads a polling memo.

    Ben Carson is second with 12 percent and there’s a three-way tie for third with Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz each pulling 7 percent....

  13. Rubio: Trump won't be nominee


    ORFORD, N.H. (AP) — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says Donald Trump will not be the Republican presidential nominee because his message is not an optimistic one.

    Rubio has largely shied away from taking on Trump, the billionaire businessman sitting atop polls of the Republican rivals.

    In recent weeks, candidates such as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have started to go head-to-head with Trump. Rubio's criticisms Wednesday were measured, even when asked about Trump's comment that Rubio is "disloyal" and "disrespectful" for running against Bush, who was Rubio's mentor in Florida politics....

  14. Jeb Bush in Pensacola: Frontrunner Donald Trump 'should be held to account'


    The following is from CNN in Pensacola:

    Jeb Bush, continuing to hit back against Donald Trump, took some not-so-subtle digs Wednesday at the GOP front-runner's spat with a Univision anchor.

    The former Florida governor, holding a town hall in Pensacola, Florida, argued that Trump "should be held to account" on his immigration proposals to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and deport millions of undocumented immigrants....

  15. Alan Grayson floats no Super PAC pledge with Patrick Murphy


    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alan Grayson says he will not “unilaterally disarm” and reject Super PAC support but floated the idea of an agreement with rival Patrick Murphy to do so....