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Tea Party hero leaves the Senate. LDS Church's new tone on gay attraction. The $2 billion presidential campaign.

Happy Friday. Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, the godfather of the Tea Party and an irritant for Senate GOP leaders, will leave in January to head the Heritage Foundation, a move that took Washington by surprise. [NYTimes] [WaPost]

-> DeMint was one of Sen. Mike Lee's biggest backers when he ran in 2010 and Lee said the outgoing senator's legacy will be the conservatives he helped elect. Think of Lee, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey and Rand Paul among others. [Trib]

-> Perhaps DeMint's move was a financial one? [BuzzFeed].

Topping the news: The LDS Church published a new website offering a softer stance on gay Mormons. From the announcement: "Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them." [Trib] [ABC4] [DNews]

-> The presidential election topped the $2 billion mark, making it the most expensive race in history. [APviaTrib]

-> Utah's chief economist says that letting the tax cuts expire could lead to a hole more than $2 billion in size. [DNews]

Tweets of the day: From @JohnJHarwood: "Just for the record: most GOP senators fear their colleague Jim DeMint. They also loathe him, see him as nutty threat to Repub prospects"

From @EWErickson: "For all the folks who think DeMint's move will scale back conservative advances, they must not be familiar with Heritage Action for America."

From @StephenAtHome: "Tweet @nikkihaley & tell her why I belong in the US Senate. For one, I wouldn't just block legislation, I'd body-check it! #SenatorColbert"

In other news: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the administration is prepared to go off the fiscal cliff if necessary, a comment that Sen. Orrin Hatch called 'irresponsible.' [FoxNews] [TheHill]

-> Salt Lake City works on plans to address the changing climate's effect on the area. [Trib]

-> SLC's new police building is part-art piece, part blast-resistant fortress. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Brigham City residents lined up at the City Council meeting to comment on the Mayor Dennis Fife's adultery and whether he should keep his job. [Trib]

-> Bob Bernick argues Sen. Mike Lee might have a Republican challenger try to attack him from the left in 2016. [UtahPolicy]

-> Bernick and Bryan Schott talk about Lee, Jim Dabakis in the state Senate and legislative committee assignments. [UtahPolicy]

-> Tooele City Council looks to fill a vacancy recently left by Councilman Shawn Milne who has been recently elected to the Tooele County Commission. [DNews]

-> For those of you from West Valley City, the council would like to wish you happy holidays: [YouTube].

-> Paul Rolly weighs in on a dating violence law currently being pushed through by Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City. [Trib]

-> A 94-year-old Roosevelt, Utah man recalls the attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath, which he witnessed from the seat of his P-40 fighter plane. [Trib]

Where are they?

Utah Governor Gary Herbert cuts the ribbon and tours the grounds at the new Adobe site in Lehi and later holds a flag protocol discussion with staff.

SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon stays a third day in Washington for the National County Executives Association meetings.

SLC Mayor Ralph Becker hosts a slew of scheduled meetings.

WVC Mayor Mike Winder stops by a holiday open house at Sterling Financial.

President Barack Obama meets with senior advisers and later signs H.R. 6063, the Child Protection Act of 2012, in the Oval Office.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

— Matt Canham and Betsy Blanchard and

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