White House summit today. Utah teachers take gun class. Hatch: We're going over the cliff.
Happy Friday. President Barack Obama is hosting congressional leaders today for a get-together at the White House in the hopes of staving off that horrible fiscal cliff. The Republican-led House will be back in session on Sunday, though it's unclear if they'll have anything to vote on. Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner says he's not willing to pass a bill with a majority of Democrats in his chamber. [Politico]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch says he thinks we're headed over the cliff, mainly because Democrats want to score political points. [Trib]
Topping the news: More than 150 Utah teachers took time out of their winter breaks to hit a firearms training in the wake of the Connecticut shooting. [Trib]
-> Rep. Patrice Arent plans to run her bill again to ban smoking in cars with kids, with the hope that a new group of lawmakers might be more accepting of the proposal. [Trib]
-> Utah's new member of Congress, Rep.-elect Chris Stewart, says he's open to some form of gun control. [Trib]
And from @realDonaldTrump: "I hate hearing after all of the hard work that @MittRomney never wanted to become President."
Happy birthday: To the fabulous Lisa Linn, and on Sunday to the better half of MJK, Natalie Kennedy.
In other news: Former Trib reporter and now Utah State University journalism professor Matthew D. LaPlante offers his answer to curbing gun violence in schools: [DNews]
-> Utah schools could very much feel the pinch if the country hits the fiscal cliff. [Trib]
-> The longtime director of the Utah Office of Tourism, Leigh von der Esch, is retiring. [Trib]
-> From the Only-In-Utah File: The year in polygamy photos. [Trib]
-> Utah Policy continues its countdown of the state's top stories with No. 1: Rep. Jim Matheson's election survival. [UtahPolicy]
-> Paul Rolly notes another Utahn affected by the state's new ID laws. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on the current congressional standstill/snow job. [Trib]
-> Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick also toss out their predictions for the coming year. [UtahPolicy]
Nationally: A Bloomberg columnist notes that Mitt Romney's White House dreams were over the minute the 47 percent video surfaced but that Romney could rescue his legacy by taking on the NRA and supporting an assault weapons ban. [Bloomberg]
-> Meanwhile, MSNBC says its most watched video this year was that of Romney talking about the 47 percent. [MSNBC]
-> Former President George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized with his condition worsening. [WSJ]
Where are they?