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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. Rubio and Bush top new CNN poll

    Blog

    The following is from CNN.com:

    Though there has been some shuffling at the top of the GOP order since the last CNN/ORC poll in April, no individual candidate's movement lies outside of the margin of sampling error.

    Marco Rubio tops the field with 14%, with Jeb Bush near even at 13%.  Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker follow at 10% each, with Ted Cruz (8%), Rand Paul (8%) and Ben Carson (7%) all within striking distance of double-digit support....

  2. Live blog: Updates from Gov. Rick Scott's presidential candidate forum

    Blog

    LAKE BUENA VISTA - Gov. Rick Scott has kicked off his presidential forum this morning, boasting about his record on jobs and other economic indicators.

    "The next president has to do what we have done in Florida to turnaround the national economy," Scott said to applause at a ballroom at Disney.

    "Today, it's all about jobs," Scott said.

    Marco Rubio appeared first, via video due to the Patriot Act debate in Washington, telling his familiar story about his working-class parents and making a pitch for a generational change. "Our outdated leaders continue to cling to outdated ideas," Rubio said, bemoaning taxes and regulation. Rubio said he would "revolutionize" higher education and lower the corporate tax rate....

    Gov. Rick Scott
  3. Huckabee: Jeb Bush is a conservative

    Blog

    Mike Huckabee, appearing on Morning Joe, praised Jeb Bush as a conservative and jokingly said Marco Rubio should reprise his role as Huckabee's 2008 campaign co-chairman in Florida.

  4. As GOP presidential contenders gather at Disney, 'Obamatrade' divides field

    Blog

    LAKE BUENA VISTA – As 2016 Republican presidential candidates gather here Tuesday to discuss the economy, the field is divided on a sweeping trade deal that President Barack Obama sees as a second-term capstone.

    Conservatives are increasingly turning against the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, portraying it as a secretive deal that gives authority to a president who has abused executive action on immigration and other issues....

  5. Climate change group to demonstrate outside Rick Scott's presidential forum

    Blog

    NextGen Climate, the group started by billionaire Tom Steyer, will bring its gimmick "ark" to Gov. Rick Scott's presidential forum in Orlando on Tuesday.

    "What better place for the Koch Brothers’ Ark to make its first appearance than outside of Rick’s Scott Economic Growth Summit? How can they hope to have a discussion about economic leadership in Florida, which is on the front lines of climate change, when they won’t address the issue—let alone say the words 'climate change,' " the group said in a release that singled out Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush....

  6. What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of June 1

    Blog

    What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of June 1.

    Rubio’s week could be complicated by the debate in Washington over the Patriot Act, which could stretch into Tuesday or later. Rubio on Tuesday is scheduled to attend Gov. Rick Scott’s GOP presidential candidate forum in Orlando. On Thursday, Rubio is to give a speech in Stamford, Conn., at the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner (Bush spoke at the event last year). On Friday, Rubio will keynote the Idaho Republican Party's summer meeting in Idaho Falls. On Saturday, Rubio returns to Iowa for Sen. Joni Ernst’s “Roast and Ride” fundraiser event. (Rubio won’t be riding a Harley but Ernst has jokingly said he could ride on the back of hers.)...

  7. As Patriot Act provisions expire, Marco Rubio rips Rand Paul for 'reckless spreading of misinformation and political posturing'

    Blog

    The Senate has adjourned for the night, meaning provisions of the Patriot Act will expire at midnight, due to the efforts of Sen. Rand Paul.

    Paul's moves drew a strong rebuke from Sen. Marco Rubio, a rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

    "The national security laws and programs implemented after the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been the cornerstone of our country’s protection since that infamous day," Rubio said. "Programs like the Section 215 metadata program, which lapsed this evening, have received vigorous congressional and judicial oversight and have allowed us to thwart terrorist plots. After tonight there is no guarantee that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies will have all the tools they need to protect the American people in the face of a growing terrorist threat. Allowing any of these programs to expire is a mistake, but that’s what is happening as a consequence of the reckless spreading of misinformation and political posturing.‎ Our country is now poised to be less safe and Americans at greater risk from growing terrorist threats.”...

  8. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio condemn latest Obama move on Cuba

    Blog

    Jeb Bush swiftly condemened the Obama administration's decision today to remove Cuba from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism.

    "Neither continued repression at home nor Cuba's destabilizing activities abroad appear sufficient to stop President Obama from making further concessions to the Communist regime in Havana," Bush said in a statement. "Today's news is further evidence that President Obama seems more interested in capitulating to our adversaries than in confronting them. Iran's leaders are surely taking note. The removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List and the unilateral concessions to Havana, before it changes its authoritarian ways and stops denying the Cuban people their basic human rights, is a mistake. I call on Congress to keep pressure on Cuba and hold the Administration accountable."...

  9. Medicaid expansion ad wars

    Blog

    Americans for Prosperity says it is launching another ad to keep pressure on lawmakers against expanding Medicaid.

    Meanwhile a business group supporting the expansion, A Healthy Florida Works Coalition, has its own ad, currently airing in Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee, West Palm, Miami as well as cable across the state.

    AFP "Medicaid is wrong for Florida" ad began running today online and will be launched in "media markets across the state on television." An observer doubts that TV claim, noting the ad is an unusual 41-seconds. An AFP spokesman said a 30-second version has been prepared for television and it would begin airing next week....

  10. Don Gaetz looks at Jeff Miller's congressional seat

    Blog

    State Sen. Don Gaetz says he won't run for U.S. Senate but he is looking at U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller's seat.

    “I have at one time or another represented every area of the First Congressional District as it is presently drawn,” Gaetz, R-Niceville, told the Northwest Florida Daily News.

    Miller is considering running for Marco Rubio's Senate seat.

    The newspaper reported that there's "no doubt" state Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, will seek to replace Miller....

  11. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio open to more oil drilling as issue gains attention in Florida

    State Roundup

    Efforts to open oil drilling off both Florida coasts could inject the issue into the race for president, and home state contenders Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are supportive of more production.

    Neither Republican appears receptive to legislation that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., filed last week to block a proposal from gulf state lawmakers that would end the ban on drilling within a certain distance of the coast....

    On oil rig sits off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Efforts to open up oil drilling off both Florida coasts could inject the issue into the race for president, and home state contenders Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are supportive of more production. Neither Republican appears receptive to legislation U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., filed last week to block a proposal from gulf state lawmakers that would end the ban on drilling within a certain distance of the coast. [Associated Press (2008)] 

  12. Christie backs off Common Core, leaving Jeb Bush more exposed

    Blog

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today backed away from Common Core, declaring "it's simply not working."

    That leaves Jeb Bush, a probable rival to Christie in the GOP presidential race, even more exposed on the issue. Bush has been assailed by conservatives for his support for the standards. He hasn't backed down but Bush has deflected somewhat to say he's for any higher standards -- as long as students are challenged more....

  13. Hillary Clinton brings cloistered campaign to Florida

    Blog

    Hillary Clinton brings her presidential campaign to Florida today but average people and reporters won’t have much of an opportunity, if any at all, to see her up close.

    When her visit was announced last week aides said she would do a public event. Now that seems off the table, but she might go for something small with little notice — a simple reach for a photo or clip on the TV news."...

  14. Bush and Rubio open to more oil drilling as issue gains attention in Florida

    Blog

    Efforts to open up oil drilling off both Florida coasts could inject the issue into the race for president, and home state contenders Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are generally supportive of more production.

    Neither Republican seems receptive to legislation Sen. Bill Nelson filed to block a proposal from Gulf state lawmakers that would end the ban on drilling within a certain distance of the coast. The current prohibition, ranging from 125 miles to 235 miles, expires in 2022. Proponents, led by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., say increased drilling would create jobs....

    An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
  15. Rubio, Bush at top but GOP presidential race remains wide open

    Blog

    The sprawling GOP presidential field has made for no clear front runner, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows.

    Five candidates, including Florida’s Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush as well, each take 10 percent of support in the national poll. The others are Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker.

    Rand Paul got 7 percent; Ted Cruz 6 percent; Donald Trump 5 percent; Chris Christie 4 percent....