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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.

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. Donald Trump causing Marco Rubio problems over immigration


    Donald Trump is causing problems for Marco Rubio, using media attention to remind people of the Florida Republican's involvement in immigration.

    "There's tremendous crime and illegal immigration is just incredible. As far as Rubio, he's very weak on immigration," Trump said Saturday on Fox News. "You know, I have great relations with Mexico and I love the Mexican people, and the spirit of the Mexican people. These are people just pouring across the border."...

  2. Jeb Bush keeps up busy fundraising schedule


    The Jeb Bush cash machine never rests.

    Here's his schedule for the rest of July:

    Saturday, July 11

    Luncheon Reception

    Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

    Tuesday, July 14

    Evening Reception

    Los Angeles, California

    Wednesday, July 15

    Breakfast Reception

    Pasadena, California

    Wednesday, July 15

    Luncheon Reception

    Santa Barbara, California

    Wednesday, July 15

    Evening Reception

    San Francisco, California

    Thursday, July 16

    Luncheon Reception

    Silicon Valley, California

    Thursday, July 23

    Evening Reception

    Middleton, New Jersey

    Thursday, July 23

    Evening Reception

    Short Hills, New Jersey

    Saturday, July 25

    Evening Reception

    East Hampton, New York...

  3. Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton to share stage in Fort Lauderdale


    Jeb Bush will speak before the National Urban League Conference in Fort Lauderdale on July 31, illustrating his campaign's goal of broadening the GOP message.

    Hillary Clinton is also addressing the group, as is Ben Carson and Martin O'Malley.

    "The candidates will share their visions for saving our cities on Friday, July 31, during a session entitled 'Off To The Races: The 2016 Presidential Candidates’ Plenary,' " according to a release.
    “As we convene in Florida to deliberate solutions to the economic and social challenges our cities are facing, it’s vital that those contending for the highest office in the land be part of that conversation,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said....

    Jeb Bush, left, and Hillary Clinton
  4. Rubio in Chicago today touting economic proposals


    In a speech this morning in Chicago, Marco Rubio will outline a series of proposals to grow the economy, including cutting the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.

    "I will also establish a territorial tax system. Today, when an American company earns money overseas, it is taxed once in the country it is earned in and again if it is brought back to America. We are the only G8 country that levies that second tax, and the understandable impact is that many companies choose never to bring their money back home. Apple, for example, has $171 billion sitting overseas. That money would be an immediate economic boost, but because Apple would be punished for bringing it back, they choose not to....

  5. What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of July 6


    Rubio has a policy speech Tuesday in Chicago, then heads to Iowa for three days. He will be in New Orleans on Friday for the National Right to Life convention then goes to Las Vegas.

    Bush will be in Hudson, N.H, on Wednesday for a town hall at a VFW.

    Previous week here....

  6. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio hit July 4 parades in New Hampshire


    Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are working today, of course, each doing parades in New Hampshire.

    Rubio walked with supporters in the Wolfeboro parade. Bush mingleg with crowds at the Amherst and Merrimack parades. Here are some of the images they shared on Twitter:

  7. Jeb Bush used little-known tax strategy to build retirement


    The Wall Street Journal:

    In the tax returns he released Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush reported large deductions for payments to “pension and profit-sharing plans.” The payments averaged $350,000 a year for the past five years, far more than most people could contribute to an individual retirement account or 401(k) plan.

    Other documents Mr. Bush has filed show that he used a little-known but perfectly legal tax strategy to establish a pension plan for two people working for his consulting firm, Jeb Bush & Associates LLC. Attorneys who work with such plans say one of them was almost certainly Mr. Bush himself and the other was likely his son, Jeb Bush Jr....

  8. Republicans to mount July 4th voter registration drive


    National Republicans will spend a July 4th “day of action” doing events across Florida, including voter registration at a NASCAR event in Daytona Beach.

    Other RNC events including organizing volunteers and registration drives at house parties in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville and the Panhandle.

    From a campaign memo:

    Voter registration is a new initiative for the RNC, and this is the earliest we’ve activated our ground game in several cycles.  We are able to do this because the staff we placed on the ground during the 2014 cycle never left, and they have been maintaining relationships in the community and building our volunteer base....

  9. Fundraising pushes Alan Grayson toward Senate run


    Alan Grayson raised $110,000 in 24 hours off an email asking people if he should run for Senate, according to an aide. As of 9 a.m., $133,000.

    “You are a supporter. That’s why I send you these notes. Now, I need to ask you an important question,” he wrote in a message on Wednesday. “Should I run for the U.S. Senate?...

  10. Hillary Clinton returns to Florida July 31 for National Urban League speech


    Hillary Clinton will address the National Urban League Conference in Fort Lauderdale on July 31.

    "Throughout her career, Hillary Clinton has fought to strengthen African American families and communities," her campaign said in a release.

    Clinton has moved to address concerns of African-Americans, using the first major speech of the campaign to discuss the situation in Baltimore and to call for criminal justice reform. She also addressed the church slayings in Charleston, urging "that in addition to the renewed conversation about the Confederate flag, we must confront deeper, substantive issues around the racial divide that persists in America," the campaign said....

  11. George Pataki wants Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio to stand up to Donald Trump


    George Pataki sends a letter to fellow Republican candidates for president, asking them to stand up to Donald Trump's "unacceptable" comments about Mexicans. Most candidates have avoided saying anything.

    To the best of our knowledge, Marco Rubio has not remarked.

    Jeb Bush has. In Nevada on Saturday Bush said in Spanish, according to Bloomberg News, that Trump spends his life fighting with people and does not represent the values of the Republican Party.

    The story went on, “But when Bush was asked the same question about Trump’s remarks in English, he seemed put out at having to repeat himself, then gave a milder version of his original answer: ‘I don’t agree with him. I think he’s wrong. It’s pretty simple.’”...

  12. Shots fired between potential Senate rivals Ron DeSantis and Alan Grayson


    Rep. Ron DeSantis used President Obama's news on Cuba today to fire shots at U.S. Senate rival Patrick Murphy. But he also included Alan Grayson, who is nearing a decision whether to get in the race.

    Grayson this afternooon hit back.

    "Congressman DeSantis is correct that standing up for human rights in Cuba is not a partisan issue, despite his effort to make it one​," Grayson said in a statement circulated by an operative who is expected to join the campaign. "Unfortunately, it's obvious that he hasn't been paying attention. Congressman DeSantis may feel that he has to talk a good game on Cuba, but when it comes to Cuba, talk isn’t just cheap, it’s worthless. While he has pontificated, I've been working hard to hold the Castro regime accountable as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.  I’ve been outspoken in defense of freedom in Cuba since I took office in 2009.  It's become abundantly clear to everyone that the policies of the 1960s don’t work anymore, but I stated both publicly and privately to the Administration that the current shift in relations with Cuba is too much carrot, and not enough stick. So, Congressman DeSantis, if you are serious about putting your head down, rolling up your sleeves and getting to work to help bring freedom to Cuba, I say welcome to you, and better late than never.”...

  13. Obama announces reopening of U.S. embassy in Cuba


    Saying "We don’t have to be imprisoned by the past," President Barack Obama this morning announced the U.S. would reopen an embassy in Cuba this summer, a major step in restoring relations with the communist country severed in 1961.

    Formaly diplomatic ties will begin July 20, after a notification period to Congress.

    "There are Americans who want to travel to Cuba," Obama said from the Rose Garden. "There are American business that want to invest in Cuba. … Above all Americans want to get to know their neighbors to the south."...

    A Cuban and American flag wave from the balcony of the Hotel Saratoga in Havana. President Barack Obama will announce on Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, various reports say.
  14. Bush and Rubio in middle of 'muddled' pack in Iowa


    A new Q poll from Iowa shows Scott Walker ahead but ... Donald Trump in second, reflecting an unsettled field in a still early presidential nominating process.

    Walker got 18 percent of the vote from likely GOP caucus participants, down from 25 percent in late February and 21 percent in May.

    "Jostling for second place are Donald Trump and Ben Carson, at 10 percent each, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 9 percent each, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida at 8 percent and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 7 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has 5 percent. No other candidate is above 4 percent and 5 percent are undecided," read a polling memo....

  15. Obama to announce re-opening of embassy in Cuba


    President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday an agreement to re-establish formal diplomatic ties with Cuba and reopen embassies closed more than a half century ago.

    It marks a significant next step in a rapprochement that is bound to stir animosity among Florida's hardline Cuban immigrant community.

    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami said in a statement that an embassy "will do nothing to help the Cuban people and is just another trivial attempt for President Obama to go legacy shopping."...

    A Cuban and American flag wave from the balcony of the Hotel Saratoga in Havana. President Barack Obama will announce on Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, various reports say.