Congress returns to tackle the fiscal cliff. Secession petitions become new fad. Utah lawmaker vouches for sex offender.
Happy Tuesday. After President Barack Obama was re-elected, some Americans launched petitions on the White House's website asking to secede from the union. And yes, there's one for the good ol' state of Utah. The Beehive State's now has 3,000 signatures, far less than Texas, which had some 23,000 or more at last count. [Yahoo]
-> Of course, online petitions don't have the power to actually force a secession but if the number of signatures reaches a certain level, the White House has promised to respond. Our guess: they'll say no.
Topping the news: Congress returns to session today as the looming fiscal cliff puts high pressure on lawmakers to overcome partisan barriers and prevent an potential recession. [Reuters]
-> Democrats consider an idea once touted by Mitt Romney: to raise taxes on the rich through a hard cap on income tax deductions. [NYTimes]
-> Jon Huntsman says the Republican Party needs to stop being bullied by the right-wing media. [Politico]
-> An agent involved in the investigation of the Petraeus case allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to Jill Kelley, the woman who reported harassing emails that led to the Petraeus probe. [WSJ]
Tweets of the day: From @mviser: "Fun fact: mistress of John Edwards (Rielle Hunter) lives 1.6 miles from mistress of David Petraeus (Paula Broadwell)"
Happy birthday: To state Sen. Ross Romero and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Stephanie Hugie, a native Utahn.
In other news: The Utah Legislature has its greatest Republican majority since 1967 at 81.7 percent. [Trib]
-> Republican hard-liners are all but forced to soften their stance on immigration. [Trib]
-> Utah Latino's say they're building a "foundation for success" in future politics in the state. [UtahPolicy]
-> Mia Love said she was "absolutely" surprised by the outcome of her tight race against Rep. Jim Matheson, but insists she "is not interested in just staying on the sidelines." [DNews]
-> A group of outdoor retailers will ask President Barack Obama today to turn the Greater Canyonlands area into a national monument. Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, says such a designation would do more harm than good. [DNews]
-> Rep. Wayne Harper wrote a letter on behalf of a convicted sex offender who once worked for him as an intern. The Alliance for a Better Utah jumped on the note, citing it as an "inappropriate" use of power. [Fox13]
-> The state's proposed approach to reduce air pollution faces heavy resistance from a wide variety of Utahns. [Trib]
Election aftermath: Although there are some still unresolved races, the House will hold its "freshman orientation" for new members -- Utah 2nd District's Chris Stewart among them. [WaPost]
-> Nate Silver compares voter turnout from 2008 to 2012. [NYTimes]
-> The head of the Tesla motor company asks Romney: Who is the loser now? [Slate]
-> Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) just might be the president's new defense secretary. [WaPost]
-> The White House published names of those who will meet with the president this week to discuss the growth of the economy and a plan of attack for handling the federal deficit. [Reuters]
-> Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says Republicans need to be more inclusive: "Outreach is when five white guys have a meeting and call you. Inclusive is when you're in the meeting. And I think we have to understand to be inclusive." [CBSNews]
-> Thousands of Facebookers have decided they can no longer "like" Romney. And, naturally, an entire website has been created to follow his fan deficit in real time. [CNN]
-> An Arizona woman chased her husband down with her car, pinning him between the vehicle's underside and the curb. Why? He didn't vote. [CBSNews]
-> The president's 44 greatest faces: [BuzzFeed].
Where are they?
-- Thomas Burr and Betsy Blanchard
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