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. Rubio, in Texas, says terrorists training in Syria could attack U.S.


    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio warned Tuesday that terrorists training in ungoverned swaths of Syria could "soon" attack American interests around the world — or even on the nation's home soil.

    The tea party darling and possible 2016 presidential hopeful gave a foreign policy speech sponsored by various groups at the University of Texas. That meant heading onto the home turf of two other potential future White House contenders: Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rubio's Senate colleague and fellow grass-roots conservative champion Ted Cruz....

  2. Iowa poll shows Jeb Bush near front of GOP field


    Loras College (Iowa) Poll for potential 2016 potential candidates.

    Mike Huckabee---14.7 percent                       
    Jeb Bush---10.7 percent
    Rand Paul---8.5 percent
    Paul Ryan---8.3 percent
    Chris Christie---8.0 percent
    Ted Cruz---6.2 percent
    Marco Rubio---4.7 percent
    Rick Santorum---4.7 percent
    Scott Walker---4.7 percent
    Rick Perry---3.0 percent
    John Kasich---0.7 percent
    Other---0.7 percent
    Undecided---23.8 percent...

  3. Crist seeks to replicate Obama's email fundraising


    Boom. Roasted.

    That's the subject line of an email this afternoon from Charlie Crist's campaign, which plays off a video of Crist surprising Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera at an event. It's the kind of tactic popularized by Barack Obama and now used by virtually every campaign, Democrat or Republican, at dizzying frequency....

    Charlie Crist campaign email
  4. RPOF says it doesn't play in primaries but its money has in Benacquisto race


    The Republican Party of Florida says it does not engage in GOP primaries, but nearly $300,000 of its money has landed in a Super PAC supporting congressional candidate Lizbeth Benacquisto, newly filed campaign finance records show.

    The money passed through several committees, illustrating how difficult it can be to trace, let alone determine an agenda. RPOF's response: We have no control once it leaves our coffers....

    How $300,000 moved from RPOF to a Super PAC
  5. Ros-Lehtinen, who had Rubio as intern, says she's with Bush


    UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: Ros-Lehtinen tweets: "I'm w/Marco also. Wasn't either/or. Both."

    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, told the Hill newspaper that if Jeb Bush decides to run, "I'm with him."

    The comment says a lot about where Florida Republicans lie in a possible clash between Bush and Marco Rubio, who interned for Ros-Lehtinen many years ago. ("I was a lot thinner and he had a lot more hair," she told CNN. 'But it's the same old Marco.")...

  6. Democratic spin ignores Jolly's vote against Ryan budget


    DCCC spin on Alex Sink's decision not to run for Congress again:

    “Pinellas residents have voted time and again for commonsense solutions instead of reckless partisanship, which is why we are confident our Democratic nominee can prevail on Election Day," DCCC chairman Steve Israel said in a statement.

    “In the last few weeks, Congressman David Jolly has become the latest face of the most reckless Republican Congress in modern history and he will be forced to campaign under the full weight of his party’s toxic brand in November: raising taxes on middle class families, ending the Medicare guarantee for seniors, and jeopardizing economic growth for businesses – all to give more to corporate special interests and the ultra-wealthy.”...

  7. In SW Florida congressional race, who matters more: Palin or Paul?


    Endorsments can be overrated but in a conservative primary with a lot of noise and mud, could a high-profile name give a candidate the edge?

    Congressional District 19 candidate Lizbeth Benacquisto recently got the backing of Sarah Palin, who held a fundraiser and sang the candidate's praises on Fox News.

    Yesterday, Curt Clawson scored the endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul, among the first tea party backed candidates to make it big.

  8. RPOF files complaint over Charlie Crist ad


    Updated with comment from John Morgan and the TV station, which takes responsibility for the mistake.

    A Morgan & Morgan TV commercial featuring Charlie Crist has drawn a complaint from the Republican Party of Florida, which says it’s an in-kind contribution that violates contribution limits.


  9. Staff changes for Sen. Marco Rubio


    Cesar Conda, chief of staff to Sen. Marco Rubio is moving to Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC as a senior advisor, a sign of Rubio's 2016 presidential hopes.

    Alberto Martinez, who has served as Rubio’s deputy chief of staff since 2013, will succeed Conda as chief of staff, according to a news release. Todd Reid, Rubio’s state director since 2011, will become deputy chief of staff....

  10. Eikenberg presses for more Everglades funding in D.C.


    Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, testified today before the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, and declared that "Everglades restoration is working" while pressing $62.4 million in additional funding.

    "All authorized projects are underway," Eikenberg said, according to prepared remarks. "Several significant projects are in the final stages and we are seeing success. The endangered Florida Panther is returning to the Picayune Strand. Scientists report that the C-111 Western Project is already exceeding expectations - restoring freshwater prey fish and habitat for the American Crocodile and Roseate Spoonbill – just one year into operations....

  11. Curt Clawson's opponents press him to say more about links to sex offender


    UPDATE: Clawson's campaign responds with the mother of the victim, blasting Clawson's opponents. Listen here. "I think it's disgusting and shameful," she says.

    Naples Daily News:

    Congressional candidate Curt Clawson’s Super Bowl TV ad said he wanted a three-point shootout with President Obama, but now he’s faced with a three-on-one with the other Republicans in the primary race....

  12. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and the 'act of love' illegal immigration comment


    WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush's comments Sunday comparing some illegal immigration to "an act of love" elicited a range of reactions. It was a bold statement for a Republican, or the death knell to any presidential hopes.

    "He will be missed," Stephen Colbert joked on Comedy Central.

    Bush's remarks remind close watchers of something U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio once said along the same lines....

  13. President Obama faces rising outcry over deportations as immigration reform remains stalled


    WASHINGTON — Daniela Pelaez nearly became another number in the Obama administration's contentious march toward 2 million deportations.

    Two years ago, the Miami valedictorian got a last-minute break amid widespread attention to her story, and now she is a sophomore at Dartmouth College, pursuing a dream of becoming a doctor. But an old feeling is creeping back.

    "If I don't focus on my studies, the worry will just consume me," said Pelaez, 20, who arrived in the United States from Colombia as a child with her parents. Her reprieve expired last month and she's having to seek renewal. The permanent legal status she and millions of other undocumented residents have fought for is deadlocked in Congress....

    Cynthia Diaz, 18, rallies Tuesday outside the White House to protest deportations. Diaz’s mom was deported to Mexico in 2011 and detained after trying to cross the border again in March.
  14. Rubio won't base 2016 decision on Jeb


    Sen. Marco Rubio in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper says what Rubio's team has been spreading: He won't base his presidential decision on Jeb Bush.

    "In my mind when people decide to run for an office of that magnitude they do so under their own criteria, not what someone else is going to do," Rubio said. "And I'd imagine Jeb would tell you the same thing. His decision, and the decision of many other people who are being speculated about, is not going to be about whether someone else is going to run or not."...

  15. Colbert writes Jeb's obituary over 'act of love' comment


    Colbert on Jeb Bush's "act of love":

    On a more serious note, the Wall Street Journal editorial page likes Bush's message.