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Obama: We are not powerless. Get ready for a gun control showdown. Boehner moves on tax rates, debt ceiling.

It's Monday. President Barack Obama met the families of the shooting victims in Newtown, Conn., offering words of comfort and posing for photographs. He then spoke to the nation and said its time to take action to stop mass shootings: "We can't accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say we're powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?" [WaPost] [NYTimes] [FoxNews]

-> Congressional Democrats call for more gun control measures, but see little agreement from Republicans. [Bloomberg]

-> The Washington Post remembers Friday's victims, offering readers small glimpses of each personality they were able to capture. [WaPost]

Topping the news: Rep. Jason Chaffetz went to Newtown to appear on ABC's This Week where he said its time to talk about "the intersection of a lethal weapon and how it relates to mental health." [Trib] But apparently he had second thoughts in an interview later in the day. [WaPost]

-> The White House nay-sayed an offer made by House Speaker John Boehner to raise the debt ceiling for a year and raising tax rates for millionaires. Though rejected, the movement could be the start of serious negotiations on the fiscal cliff. [WaPost] [Forbes]

In today's news: The Utah Highway Patrol releases some data showing that in 81 cases over the past three years troopers have violated serious policies or state law. [Trib]

-> One of those troopers, Lisa Steed is now the subject of an FBI investigation. [Trib]

-> The No. 8 political story of the year is Gov. Gary Herbert stepping in to squash an effort to teach abstinence only in Utah schools. [UtahPolicy]

-> Utah's members of Congress reiterate that they want to see all of the Bush tax cuts extended, even for top earners. [Herald]

Tweets of the day: From @Timodc: "'Let us make our country worthy of their memory.' An unimaginably daunting task. An excellent speech and impt challenge from the president."

From @BetsyMTP: "We reached out to ALL 31 pro-gun rights Sens in new Congress to invite them to share views on @meetthepress - NO takers."

From @StevenTDennis: "Big question on any gun control: What will Harry Reid do?"

Happy birthday: To Jim Dabakis, chair of the Utah Democratic Party and newly-dubbed state Senator.

Opinion section: BYU Professor Thomas G. Alexander defends the origin of Dixie State College's name. [Trib]

-> Suresh Kulkarni, chairman of the Brigham City Community Hospital board of trustees, insists that Brigham City Mayor Dennis Fife should resign as mayor, regardless of how apologetic he may be about his confessed affair. [Trib]

-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett applauds AIG's repayment of stimulus money with $17 billion in interest. [DNews]

-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb discuss the composition of recent Republican struggle. [DNews]

-> Ray Rasker, executive director of Montana-based Headwaters Economics, holds that public lands across the West provide an economic advantage for Utah and other states. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly says politics are to blame for stunted growth of anti-bullying efforts throughout the state. [Trib]

-> Rolly also weighs in on wealthy administrators, a penitent communications director and a new tedious checkout process. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley weighs in on the recent shooting in Connecticut. [Trib]

Weekend in review: Salt Lake County Council approves outgoing Mayor Peter Corroon's recommended budget, raising two sets of taxes that will cost the average homeowner a total of $77 more per year. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee sign a formal complaint about a new soot pollution standard, though a state official with the Utah Department of Environmental Equality says the Beehive State won't be affected by the rule. [Trib]

-> Ron Bigelow, state budget director, announces his upcoming retirement after two years of service. Prior to his work as budget director, Bigelow served in the state Legislature. [Trib]

-> Consumer prices across the Wasatch Front fell 0.2 percent from October to November. [DNews]

-> In our D.C. Notebook, Chaffetz told his staff to take their entire holiday break, though he personally may only wind up with Christmas day off. [SLTrib]

Nationally: An $812 meal? The media fights Mitt Romney's campaign over confusing and hefty travel expenses. [BuzzFeed]

-> The president is likely to nominate Sen. John Kerry as his secretary of state this week, says he's been negotiating with foreign leaders all his life. [Globe] [NYTimes]

-> South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will name a replacement from Sen. Jim DeMint today at noon. DeMint stepped down to run the Heritage Foundation.

Where are they?

Utah Governor Gary Herbert receives a weekly update from Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, holds a strategy meeting with his chief of staff and later heads to a retirement party for Marc B. Johnson, state tax commissioner.

WVC Mayor Mike Winder cuts the ribbon for a new Buffalo Wild Wings location and attends a retirement reception for city employees.

President Barack Obama meets with the vice president for a private lunch in the afternoon.

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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