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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

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Jeb Bush to National Urban League: 'There are unjust barriers to opportunity and upward mobility in this country'

    Blog

    Jeb Bush in his address Friday to the National Urban League will talk about a “listening and learning” phase following his 1994 campaign in which he made comments that were offensive to African-Americans, play up charter schools, criticize a "losing" war on poverty and discuss his decision as governor to take down the Confederate flag.

    “I know that there are unjust barriers to opportunity and upward mobility in this country. Some we can see, others are unseen but just as real,” reads Bush’s speech, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. “So many lives can come to nothing, or come to grief, when we ignore problems, or fail to meet our own responsibilities. And so many people could do so much better in life if we could come together and get even a few big things right in government. I acted on that belief as governor of Florida. It’s a record I’ll gladly compare with that of anyone else in the field....

  2. Jeff Miller will not run for U.S. Senate, focus on VA instead

    Blog

    Rep. Jeff Miller will not run for U.S. Senate, saying he will focus on fixing the "toxic culture" at the VA.

    The North Florida Republican had been strongly considering entering the race for Marco Rubio's seat and said he would announce a decision after August.

    But today he warned of a presidential veto of his Accountability Act.

    "It became clear to me that this Administration is not committed to reforming the VA," Miller said in a statement. "My personal commitment to the veterans of this country is greater than my desire to seek higher office....

  3. Ted Cruz, Rick Perry launch attacks on Jeb Bush

    Blog

    Ted Cruz today attacked Jeb Bush as soft on Iran, the second day in a row that a Republican rival has taken a shot at Bush.

    Appearing on a radio show the Texan said the billions of dollars Iran would get would lead to deaths and anyone who doesn't speak up bears responsibility. "One of the reasons Republicans keep getting clobbered is we have leaders like Mitt Romney and like Jeb Bush who are afraid to say that," Cruz said on the Chad Hasty show....

  4. RNC adds three top staffers in Florida

    Blog

    The RNC is solidifying its presence in Florida, adding a staff director and two other top operatives to work on the 2016 elections.

    Brian Barrett will serve as state director. Alex Garcia is deputy state director and director of Hispanic initiatives, and Ben Shankle is coming as data direction.

    “The RNC is building the largest, earliest and most data focused field program in GOP history,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a release. “This new wave of staff will help us train our team, register voters, and meet one-on-one with activists, to build our infrastructure now in order to hand our eventual nominee a fully functional ground operation on day one.”...

  5. Donald Trump clear Republican leader in new national poll, ahead of Walker and Bush

    Blog

    Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican pack for president, taking 20 percent of Republican voters, comfortably ahead of Scott Walker with 13 percent and Jeb Bush with 10 percent, according to a Quinnipiac national poll released this morning.

    But Trump, in a further sign of worry for the GOP, trails any of the three leading Democratic candidates by “wide margins,” the poll found....

  6. Alan Grayson fails to file FEC form

    Blog

    Alan Grayson failed to file a statement of candidacy for his U.S. Senate bid, the FEC website shows....

  7. Rubio and Bush: Clinton wrong on Cuba

    Blog

    Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush react to Hillary Clinton's planned speech Friday calling for an end of the Cuban embargo.

    Rubio: "After Secretary Clinton's failed 'reset' with Putin, now she wants to do a 'reset' with Castro. She is making another grave mistake. Unilateral concessions to the Castros will only strengthen a brutal, anti-American regime 90 miles from our shore. President Obama and Secretary Clinton must learn that appeasement only emboldens dictators and repressive governments, and weakens America's global standing in the 21st century. As president, I will stand with the Cuban people and only support an end to the embargo that is accompanied by real democratic reform."...

  8. UPDATE: Hillary Clinton to call for lifting Cuban embargo Friday in FIU speech

    Blog

    Hillary Clinton will call for an end of the trade embargo with Cuba during a speech Friday in Miami, home to Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, two of her Republican rivals in the race for president who oppose to the diplomatic thaw under way.

    The Democrat, her campaign said Wednesday, “will highlight that Republican arguments against increased engagement are part of failed policies of the past and contend that the U.S. must look to the future in order to advance a core set of values and interests to engage with Cubans and address human rights abuses.”...

  9. Priebus to address National Urban League today in Fort Lauderdale

    Blog

    RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will address the National Urban League's leadership during a luncheon today.

    He will discuss the GOP's "ongoing efforts to engage black voters, including the #CommittedToCommunity: Engage, Empower, Uplift campaign," according to a relase.

    The 12:15 p.m. event in Fort Lauderale is not open to reporters, the RNC said.

  10. Florida's Mike Fernandez top donor to Bush Super PAC

    Blog

    Miami billionaire Mike Fernandez gave $3 million to the Right to Rise Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, the top donor for the juggernaut committee.

    “I don’t want to be an ambassador to anywhere,” he told the Wall Street Journal, which this evening reported details of the Super PAC filing due Friday with the FEC....

  11. Steve Southerland rules out another run for Congress

    Blog

    Steve Southerland won't try to return to Congress, ruling out today what was already a small chance he would run again.

    "It is after great thought and prayerful consideration that I've decided not to be a candidate for Congress in 2016," the Republican from Panama City said. "I've been blessed with the support of Susan and our daughters throughout this process, and we appreciate the words of encouragement we've received from so many people across North and Northwest Florida. I believe it's time for someone else to have the opportunity to serve. I look forward to doing my part to ensure our nominee returns Florida's Second Congressional District to Republican hands in 2016."...

  12. Huckabee responds to Bush: 'I take nothing back'

    Blog

    A day after Jeb Bush scolded Mike Huckabee for likening the Iran deal to the Holocaust, Huckabee punched back on Fox News and declared: "I take nothing back."

    "You don’t tone down the rhetoric when people are threatening a country off the face of the map,” Huckabee said on The Dispatch....

  13. Kathy Castor files bill to lift economic embargo with Cuba

    Blog

    U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and a Republican colleague filed a bill today to lift the Cuban embargo, with the condition that taxpayer funds could not be used on promotion or development of the new markets.

    The move is the latest in a pro-Cuba profile the Tampa Democrat has built as diplomatic ties are reestablished with the island country.

    The Cuba Trade Act of 2015 (HR3238 was filed with Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn. It'll face opposition and not just from South Florida's Cuban-American lawmakers....

  14. Scott Walker can't seem to decide on Florida primary

    Blog

    Real Clear Politics is reporting that Scott Walker has told donors he will not compete in the Florida primary, going against what he told us earlier this year and a return to a posture he appeared to hold before that.

    From the report: During a fundraiser at the St. Louis home of Rex Sinquefield, Missouri’s most active Republican donor, Walker reasoned that it “doesn't make a ton of sense for him to pour cash into Florida” with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in the race, said one person who was present for Walker’s remarks....

  15. Trump still crushing Bush, Rubio in New Hampshire

    Blog

    Donald Trump has a major lead in New Hampshire, a new poll shows, beating second place finisher Jeb Bush 24 percent to 12 percent.

    Trump has gotten widespread coverage and hasn't yet showed signs of a slow down. The Monmouth University Poll of likely GOP voters finds John Kasich tied for third with Scott Walker at 7 percent. Marco Rubio comes in next with 6 percent followed by Ben Carson and Rand Paul, each who get 5 percent of the vote. Another 14% of likely primary voters are undecided....