GOP senators unhappy with Susan Rice. Huntsman joins bipartisan group. Rep.-elect Stewart assembles his team.
Happy Wednesday. GQ magazine is out with its 25 least influential people of 2012 and topping the list is none other than Mitt Romney. "Was anyone inspired by Mitt Romney?" the magazine asks. "Did anyone vote enthusiastically for Mitt Romney?" Here's guessing there might be a few Utahns who disagree with the premise. To be fair, the magazine's list also includes First Lady Michelle Obama and her healthy-food cause. [GQ] [Politico]
Topping the news: Candidates for the state's 2nd District Senate seat squared off in the only debate before delegates choose a replacement Saturday. [Trib] [DNews] [UtahPolicy]
-> The Utah Democratic Party's LDS caucus asks members to fast and pray in an effort to heal the country's polarization. [DNews]
-> Thanks in part to the fear of future gun regulations, Black Friday gun sales hit an all-time high both in Utah and nationally. [DNews]
-> Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman joins No Labels, a bipartisan nonprofit group that hopes to bring the left and right together. [Trib]
Tweet of the day: From @dcbigjohn: "There are actually people who woke up today and said 'today, I'm going to get buck naked in front of John Boehner's staff.'" The reference is to this: [HuffPost].
Happy birthday: To Temma Martin and state Rep. Janice Fisher.
In other news: Chris Stewart, congressman-elect for Utah's 2nd District, has made two hires as he puts his new staff together. [Trib]
-> Consumer confidence in Utah took a big hit after the election, a move that one analyst contributes to Utah's concern after Mitt Romney's loss at the polls. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Utah serves as a laboratory for Jim Dabakis, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party and gay activist. [WaPost]
-> Paul Rolly weighs in on passport problems, driver's license problems and confusing alcohol laws. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley takes on Grover Norquist and his no-tax-increase pledge. [Trib]
Nationally: The Hinckley Institute's Kirk Jowers says Americans should take their fascination with the presidential horse race and focus it on understanding the critical issues facing the country. [KSL]
-> Rising housing prices in September may be evidence of a recovering housing market. [Time] [WaPost]
-> An Idaho state senator believes Romney still has a chance at the presidency in January if the states that went red refused to participate in the Electoral College. [IdahoStatesman] (Btw, that's not true. Snopes has a good take: [Snopes.com])
-> Sen. Jon McCain and two other Republican senators say they are "significantly troubled" after meeting with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and acting CIA Director Michael Morrell regarding Rice's initial explanations of the Benghazi attack. [Politico] [WaPost]
-> Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of three GOP senators present, said while exiting the meeting: "Bottom line, I'm more disturbed now than I was before."
-> And if you still aren't sure what all of this fiscal cliff talk is about, check out these links for a little clarification: [NYTimes] [WaPost] [Guardian].
Where are they?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz attends the hearing on his Internet Radio Fairness Act in the House Judiciary Committee and then heads to the Washington LDS Temple holiday lighting ceremony.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert sits down with the Energy Task Force, attends the Molina Health Care 15th anniversary celebration, meets with Lt. General Bruce A. Litchfield and later Rep. Roger Barrus and lastly Derek Miller for a budget discussion.
SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon attends a United Way Public Policy meeting
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker hosts a performing arts center design meeting with the firm Pelli Clarke Pelli.
WVC Mayor Mike Winder attends the 15th anniversary event for Molina Health Care and later attends a Boy Scout court of honor.
President Barack Obama holds a Cabinet Meeting and meets with business leaders to discuss the growing economy.
Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]
Thomas Burr and Betsy BlanchardTwitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/betsyblanchard