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

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Jeb Bush keeps mining gold for Republican candidates

    State Roundup

    The Jeb Bush fundraising tour continued Tuesday evening in Tampa where he headlined an event for U.S. Senate candidates Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Dan Sullivan and Monica Wehby.

    The candidates, except for Sullivan, were expected to attend the private event, which drew a bunch of bold-faced names including event chairs Al & Dawn Hoffman, Kim & John Kirtley and John Rood. Admission: $2,600 per person....

    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 27:  Former U.S. Seceratary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the 10th National Automobile Dealers Association Convention on January 27, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to reports, Clinton said during a question and answer session at the convention that he biggest regret was the attack on Americans in Benghazi. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) 465736125
  2. Jeb Bush has no footprint in New Hampshire

    Blog

    Another day, another report that Jeb Bush is in another state doing political things. Today CNN first reported that the former governor will be in South Carolina next month, his first visit to an early primary state. That's good enough to spark up the Jeb for president talk.

    But in New Hampshire, there's silence. “I can sincerely say that I’m not aware of anyone in New Hampshire having received a call from the Bush people,” GOP kingmaker Tom Rath told NH Journal. “People here that I talk to are of a pretty broad range” of Republicans, “and no one has heard anything.” The story added, "Other Republicans who asked not to be named echoed Rath’s comments."...

  3. Ice, Ice baby: Rick Scott and Vanilla Ice hang in Boca

    Blog

    Vanilla Ice tweeted this photo with Gov. Rick Scott on Monday. Mr. Ice performed his namesake song at the Florida Governor's Conference on Tourism in Boca Raton. "Here I am with Gov. Rick Scott celebrating the beautiful state of Florida," he wrote.

    Vanilla Ice with Gov. Rick Scott at the Florida Governor's Conference on Tourism Monday night in Boca Raton
  4. Jeb Bush in Tampa this evening for big fundraising event

    Blog

    The Jeb Bush fundraising tour continues this evening in Tampa, where he’ll headline an event for U.S. Senate candidates Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Dan Sullivan and Monica Wehby.

    The candidates except for Sullivan are expected to attend the event, which will draw a bunch of bold-faced names including event chairs Al & Dawn Hoffman, Kim & John Kirtley and John Rood. Admission: $2,600 per person....

  5. Dennis Ross releases first TV ad for re-election campaign

    Blog

    U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross is going up with his first TV ad. The spot casts him as a problem solver in partsian Washington and touts support for flood insurance legislation.

    Ross is being challenged by Democrat Alan Cohn.

  6. Rubio, Nelson vote to arm Syrian rebels

    Blog

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio set aside his normal objection to short-term funding deals and joined Sen. Bill Nelson and a majority of others in approving a spending package that will arm and train Syrian rebels.

    The Senate vote came a day after the House approved the deal, over significant hesitation. Rubio explained his vote in a floor speech. Two potential 2016 candidates, Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, voted no....

  7. Rupert Murdoch: Jeb Bush 'would be a very good president'

    Blog

    Rupert Murdoch was on Fox Business Network talking 2016 presidential politics:

    “I am intrigued with the whole process that is happening. Who is going to run against Hillary on the Democratic side. If they do they will run way to the left. Will they pull more her a bit to the left?  OR a rather centrist position, what could happen there, how will that affect the results. And then, there are a lot of people in the Republican field… and Paul Ryan, though he hasn't declared yet. Jeb Bush may. (He) would be a very good president. Marco Rubio is making some very interesting speeches. I think that-- Jon Kasich in Ohio is going to emerge as a candidate and Chris Christie, there’s other governors.”...

  8. Domino, Southerland release new ads

    Blog

    Give it to Carl Domino for creativity. The Republican challenger to Rep. Patrick Murphy has this movie trailer spoof as his new TV ad. Meantime, Rep. Steve Southerland released a new one as well, and he continues to tie Democrat Gwen Graham to Nancy Pelosi. At the same time, in a bit of a mixed message, he cites work on bipartisan legislation.

    ...

  9. Florida House members divided on vote to arm Syrian rebels

    Blog

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled House voted grudgingly to give the administration authority to train and arm Syrian rebels on Wednesday as President Barack Obama emphasized anew that American forces "do not and will not have a combat mission" in the struggle against Islamic State militants in either Iraq or Syria.

    The 273-156 vote crossed party lines to an unusual degree in a Congress marked by near ceaseless partisanship. Top Republican and Democratic leaders backed Obama's plan seven weeks before midterm elections, while dozens of rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties opposed it....

  10. Sen. Marco Rubio: 'America cannot avoid its role as a global leader'

    National

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio did not hold back criticism — of the president, Congress or a potential 2016 presidential rival — in a foreign policy speech Wednesday that called for aggressive U.S. engagement in the world's hot spots.

    "America cannot avoid its role as a global leader," the Florida Republican said in a speech at the Willard hotel.

    He criticized defense budget cuts enacted by Congress and said it was a mistake for President Barack Obama to rule out combat troops to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria....

    Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida , a leading 2016 GOP presidential contender, gives a foreign policy speech to the Project for the Common Defense in Washington, D.C., calling for a forceful U.S engagement with ISIS.
  11. Rubio: 'America cannot avoid its role as a global leader'

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio did not hold back criticism -- of the president, Congress or a potential 2016 presidential rival -- in foreign policy speech today that called for aggressive U.S. engagement in the world's hot spots.

    "America cannot avoid its role as a global leader," the Florida Republican said in a speech at the Willard Hotel.

    He criticized defense budget cuts enacted by Congress and said it was a "mistake" for President Barack Obama to rule out combat troops to fight ISIS....

  12. In Tampa, Obama rules out ground troops

    Blog

    In a speech today at MacDill Air Force Base, President Obama reaffirmed his decision not to commit ground troops in the fight against.

    It came after talk from military officials yesterday that the option should be on table. Said Obama:

    "As I announced last week, we’re going to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.  And whether in Iraq or in Syria, these terrorists will learn the same thing that the leaders of al Qaeda already know:  We mean what we say; our reach is long; if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.  We will find you eventually....

  13. Obama campaigned to get U.S. out of war but now pursues new one

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — Florida was still getting to know Barack Obama when he showed up for a rally in Tampa in May 2008, but his message seized the mood. "We are at a defining moment in our history," the candidate declared to 15,000 people at the St. Pete Times Forum.

    "Our nation is not only involved in a war that we must win in Afghanistan, but it is also involved in a war that I believe should have never been authorized and should have never been waged that has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives and has not made us more safe."...

    President Barack Obama, seated near Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, receives a briefing from commanders of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, at CentCom headquarters on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
  14. At MacDill, former war foe Obama must defend his fight against ISIS

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Florida was still getting to know Barack Obama when he showed up for a rally in Tampa in May 2008, but his message seized the mood. "We are at a defining moment in our history," the candidate declared to 15,000 people at the St. Pete Times Forum.

    "Our nation is not only involved in a war that we must win in Afghanistan, but it is also involved in a war that I believe should have never been authorized and should have never been waged that has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives and has not made us more safe."...

    President Barack Obama greets members of the military at MacDill Air Force Base after landing in Tampa on Tuesday evening. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  15. Jeb Bush directs Common Core criticism to Obama

    Blog

    In a rare sit-down interview, Jeb Bush discusses foreign policy and education with the Washington Post's conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. What stood out is his dealing with Common Core, an issue that has dogged him.

    “In the last year or year and a half there has been a stalling-out of the comprehensive reform movement,” he told Rubin....