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. NSA data collection divides Republican presidential hopefuls

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — The last time Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky staged a marathon protest on the Senate floor, over the government drone policy, fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio rushed to stand by his side.

    This week, Paul tried to recapture that spirit, inveighing for 10.5 hours against the National Security Agency's data collection program — an effort that also attempted to boost his presidential campaign....

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky spent hours on the Senate floor Wednesday speaking against the NSA’s data collection program.
  2. Jeb Bush: Republicans need to 'get outside of our comfort zone'


    Jeb Bush played up his reputation as “Veto Corleone” in a speech today and said Republicans need to “get outside of our comfort zone” and reach Hispanics, African-Americans and college students.

    “I think we need to get beyond preaching to the choir,” the former Florida governor said at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma. “Get outside of our comfort zone,” and into the Latino barrios, black churches and college campuses....

  3. Fox News host says of Rubio's finances: 'Who cares?'


    Fox News host Neil Cavuto accused the news media of beating up on Marco Rubio for writing about his personal finances, and revelation Rubio cashed in a retirement account to pay for a refrigerator and other things.

    “Who cares?” the host asked during a segment Thursday. (Apparently another Fox News host, among others.)

    Cavuto and a guest said reporters were essentially doing an inverse version of the scrutiny paid to Mitt Romney’s wealth....

  4. Florida unemployment rate falls to 5.6 percent


    A Times staff report:

    Florida's unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in April as the state added 25,800 private sector jobs.

    The jobless rate was at 5.7 percent in March and stood at 6.4 percent in April 2014.

    The state's unemployment rate still lags behind the nation's, which is 5.4 percent.

    Hillsborough and Pinellas counties reported a jobless rate of 4.8 percent, down from 5.1 percent the previous month. Pasco reported a 5.6 percent jobless rate, down from 6 percent the previous month, while Hernando had a 6.6 percent unemployment rate, a drop from 7 percent in March....

  5. Jeb Bush finds a way to distance himself from W


    On Wednesday in New Hampshire Jeb Bush embraced his family. On Thursday he gently put some distance between him and brother George, saying the former president spent too much money.

    Spending did accelerate under Bush, helping lay the foundation for the tea party (which really took off after Barack Obama was elected)...

  6. Obama to visit National Hurricane Center in Miami


    President Obama will visit the National Hurricane Center next Thursday, the White House said, to receive the annual hurricane season outlook and preparedness briefing.

    The stop follows fundraisers he'll do in Coconut Grove on Wednesday....

  7. This time, Rubio doesn't stand with Rand


    WASHINGTON — The last time Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky staged a marathon protest on the Senate floor, over the government drone policy, fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio rushed to stand by his sid.

    This week, Paul tried to recapture that spirit, inveighing for 10.5 hours against the National Security Agency's data collection program — an effort that also attempted to boost his presidential campaign....

    Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio
  8. Jeb the quote


    Jeb Bush, who continues a two-day swing through New Hampshire today, was a quote machine on Wednesday.

    On his family: "I love my mom and dad. I love my brother, and people are just going to have to get over that. That's just the way it is. ... I have a life journey, my own — one that sets me apart in some ways."

    On climate change: "For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you. It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't have a conversation about it, even. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality."...

  9. Liberal group files third FEC complaint against Jeb Bush


    Jeb Bush’s retracted flub about running for president has earned him another complaint before the Federal Election Commission.

    The liberal American Democracy Legal Fund, which has already filed two complaints against Bush for his coordination with a Super PAC, says, “it was clear before, but it is now crystal clear that Mr. Bush and Right to Rise Super PAC, Inc. have violated the Act in the following ways:...

  10. Florida Republicans urge Obama to reconsider LIP


    WASHINGTON - A group of Florida Republicans wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to reverse a decision to end the Low Income Pool program in Florida, arguing it "has been working to help low-income families in our state."

    The request won't go anywhere, but represents the call to arms that Gov. Rick Scott sent up during a trip to Washington last week.

    The letter was signed by Marco Rubio; Vern Buchanan; Jeff Miller; John Mica; Dennis Ross; Gus Bilirakis; Ron DeSantis; Ted S. Yoho; Rich Nugent; Mario Diaz-Balart; Carlos Curbelo; and Tom Rooney....

    Letter to President Obama
  11. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush defend NSA data collection


    The Senate is taking up the NSA’s controversial data collection and the debate has spilled to the presidential race, with a clear division among Republicans.

    Florida’s Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush both oppose changes to the program, tucked inside the Patriot Act, while Rand Paul is leading the charge against the collection. Others candidates are being careful about the issue.

    Rubio in an USA Today op/ed on May 10: “There is not a single documented case of abuse of this program. Internet search providers, Internet-based email accounts, credit card companies and membership discount cards used at the grocery store all collect far more personal information on Americans than the bulk metadata program.”

    Bush on the Michael Medved show in April: “I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using, you know, the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced. Even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation I think of our national government is to keep us safe."...

  12. Lenny Curry defeats incumbent Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown in Jacksonville


    Lenny Curry defeated incumbent Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown of Jacksonville tonight, the latest set back for Democrats in Florida.

    "Soak it in with me. Just soak it in," Curry told supporters at top of his victory speech. He pledged to work with Brown on "one Jacksonville."

    Curry, the former head of the state GOP, was boosted by a determined Republican effort to recapture the seat, strong fundraising and the help from Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and other top officials....

    Jacksonville Mayor-Elect Lenny Curry
  13. Pam Bondi to serve on Maggie's List board


    Pam Bondi will serve on the national board for Maggie's List, a GOP version of Emily's List, that aims to elect women to Congress.

    The news came at a fundraiser this evening in Tampa. "We are thrilled!," the group wrote on Facebook. "Her role in electing women to the 115th Congress and beyond will be potent!"

  14. Rubio in sweet spot of fav/unfav rating


    A new Pew Research report shows Republicans are generally upbeat about their Republican presidential candiates, and Marco Rubio has a solid favorable/unfavorable rating. Jeb Bush does not.

    Fifty-one percent of Republicans view Rubio favorably compared with 20 percent who have an unfavorable impression. Jeb Bush is viewed favorably by 52 percent of Republicans vs. 35 percent who view him unfavorably, the worst rating among top tier candidates....

  15. Fiorina to campaign in Florida on Wednesday


    GOP presidntial candidate Carly Fiorina has two events in Florida on Wednesday.

    - Meet and greet with Palm Beach County GOP Patriots
    4:30-5:45pm ET
    Doors open at 4:30pm and event will begin at 5:15pm
    Palm Beach County Convention Center

    - Place of Hope Rinker Campus Dedication & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
    6:30pm ET (Carly will arrive at approx. 7:00pm ET)
    21441 Boca Rio Rd
    Boca Raton...