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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. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire.

Phone: (202) 306-4807


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

  1. Donald Trump takes office as America's 45th president: 'Now arrives the hour for action'

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Donald John Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, capping one of history's most unconventional paths to the White House, a businessman celebrity who drove a populist movement with an anti-establishment fervor and sweeping tagline to Make America Great Again.

    His address, just over 16 minutes, skipped much of the lofty rhetoric of predecessors. Rather, Trump attacked Washington power brokers and portrayed an America beset with problems, from drugs to illegal immigration and the "ravages of other countries stealing our companies and destroying our jobs."...

    President-elect Donald Trump's wife Melania Trump arrives during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
  2. How a Tampa Bay Times reporter witnessed an odd moment in presidential inauguration history


    WASHINGTON - Presidential history lives in the Washington bureau of the Tampa Bay Times.

    Inside a desk drawer is a Panasonic voice recorder that captured one of the oddest moments in inaugural history. Former Times reporter Wes Allison used it to capture President Barack Obama taking the oath of office for the second time in January 2009.

    Wes, now a lawyer in his home state of South Carolina, was the "pool" reporter on Obama's first day. His job was to follow Obama and report the details to the press corps at large. "No pressure or anything," as he wrote at the time. The day went long and then got interesting....

    The Panasonic RR-US361 that reporter Wes Allison used to record Obama's do-over oath
  3. Rubio supports another Trump pick -- Rick Perry -- but what about Tillerson?


    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio today announced support for Rick Perry as energy secretary, saying he has "the experience and leadership" the angency needs.

    "I am confident he will work diligently to support our military’s nuclear reactors, maintain and modernize our nuclear stockpiles, fortify our power grids, and implement a true ‘all of the above’ energy policy that encourages job creation and innovation and protects our environment. I look forward to working with Rick in this new role, and I’m proud to support his nomination."...

  4. Gov. Scott suggests another outsider with business background could play well as his replacement


    WASHINGTON - Gov. Rick Scott is widely considered to be prepping for a 2018 U.S. Senate run, but is not making an announcement soon.

    “People are tired of long campaigns,” he said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday. “I’ve got session coming up. I’ve got a budget coming out and I’ll have another session next year. I’m in no rush. I like this job a lot. You can feel like you can get something done.”...

    Gov. Rick Scott does an interview near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 19, 2017
  5. Florida's GEO Group gets boost from Trump victory


    From Beth Reinhard of the Wall Street Journal:

    Civil-liberties and human-rights groups have long argued that incarceration is a social responsibility that can’t be entrusted to a for-profit industry that they say thrives amid inhumane conditions. Others, by contrast, point to greater efficiencies achieved by the private sector than the older and overcrowded facilities run by government. In recent years, however, a consensus has grown among liberals and conservatives that the U.S. incarcerates too many people and fails to prepare them for re-entry to society....

  6. Jose Felix Diaz gets fired by Trump


    This is great ... from the season 5 Apprentice contestant Jose Felix Diaz, who was "fired" by Donald Trump.

  7. Gov. Scott throws a bash in Washington


    WASHINGTON - Hundreds of guests packed Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium tonight for Gov. Rick Scott's Florida Sunshine Ball, which featured a Beach Boys performance and kicked off a days long celebration for incoming President Donald Trump.

    "When Florida throws a party you have to show," said former U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff.

    Among those we saw in the crowd: U.S. Reps. Tom Rooney and Matt Gaetz, former Rep. Allen Boyd,  Blaise IngogliaAl Cardenas, Lew Oliver, Nick Diceglie, J.J. Beyrouti, Christian Ziegler, and Brian Ballard, who arrived in a Cadillac SUV with Joe Negron. Sen. Marco Rubio was apparently inside the room, which was lit up in neon....

    Gov. Rick Scott at his Florida Sunshine Ball
  8. Trump says he wrote inaugural address in Palm Beach


    Donald Trump says he wrote his inaugural speech at Mar-a-Lago, the Winter White House

  9. Rick Scott on Pam Bondi: 'I hope she stays in Florida'


    WASHINGTON - If Attorney General Pam Bondi is preparing to take a job in the Trump administration, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday gave not an inch in acknowledging the task of appointing a replacement.

    "She's been a good partner in our governor and cabinet meetings," Scott said. "I hope she doesn't leave. I hope she stays in Florida."

    But if she does leave, do you have plans in place?...

    Gov. Rick Scott speaks with reporters in Washington on Jan. 18, 2017
  10. Struck by politics in Miami, a White House staffer reflects on 'dream job'


    WASHINGTON - The University of Miami was buzzing over hosting the first presidential debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry and for one undergrad, it was a career defining moment.

    Kaelan Richards started out as an undeclared major then history, then political science. “I loved politics but didn’t necessarily know what that means in terms of a job,” she said.

    Richards staffed the 2004 debate, taking tickets at the door. Then a coordinator said she and a group of other volunteers could go inside. “It was life changing,” recalled Richards, who grew up on Anna Maria Island....

    R to L: Keith Maley, Kaelan Richards, Liz Allen, Kristie Canegallo and President Barack Obama during a briefing in January 2016.
  11. On this Americans are united: Trump should stop tweeting


    America has a message for Donald Trump: Stop tweeting.

    Sixty-nine percent of respondents in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll said that Trump’s tweeting is bad, agreeing with the statement that “in an instant, messages can have unintended major implications without careful review.”

    We explored Trump’s Twitter habits in a story last week....

  12. Florida performers head to Washington for Trump inauguration


    WASHINGTON - They boarded vans in the pre-dawn, bound for Washington to play at Donald Trump's inauguration.

    "Georgia on My Mind - Elite members of the Coastal Florida Police and Fire Pipes and Drums resting their lungs on their way to DC," read the caption of a photo on Facebook showing band members dozing in a van.

    The group will perform in the inaugural parade, as will the Marching Pride of Palmetto Ridge High School in Naples....

    Members of Coastal Florida Police and Fire Pipes and Drums in Georgia this morning en route to Washington
  13. Rubio calls Obama's decision on Chelsea Manning 'shameful'


    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio this evening denounced President Obama's commutation of Chelsea Manning's prison sentence for leaking classified information.

    “Private Manning was an Army intelligence analyst who stole a massive cache of highly classified government secrets and purposely leaked them to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks," Rubio said in a statement that does not mention the former Army intelligence analyst's first name....

  14. Vito Sheeley headed to Kriseman campaign?


    Vito Sheeley has been newly-elected Congressman Charlie Crist's district director for two months after playing a key role in the former governor's succesful run for Congress. 

    Sheeley remains in that post--for the time being.

    But St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has asked Crist if Sheeley will come work on his reelection campaign.

    Sheeley, 44, a St. Petersburg native, said he's looking forward to working for Kriseman.  Sheeley was outreach director during Crist's victory last fall over incumbent Republican David Jolly....

    Vito Sheeley, left,  appears headed to Mayor Rick Kriseman's reelection team
  15. Gov. Scott to meet with lawmakers, Trump officials tomorrow in Washington


    WASHINGTON - Gov. Rick Scott will meet with lawmakers and Trump officials tomorrow and hold a media availability, a spokeswoman said.

    The meetings come before the Florida Sunshine Ball, which the governor is hosting with his wife, Ann.

    On Thursday, Scott will participate in a roundtable discussion with Senators about the fate of the Affordable Care Act.