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NRA to hold ‘major news conference’ on Friday

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* The National Rifle Association will hold a "major news conference" in the Washington D.C. area on Friday, the group announced on Tuesday. It said it was "shocked, saddened and heartbroken" by Friday's mass shooting at a Connecticut school. The NRA has been quiet since the shooting, a decision that was made "out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency," it said. 

* President Obama backs a measure Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) plans to introduce at the start of the next Congress to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday

* Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) vetoed a bill that would have allowed concealed weapons to be carried in schools, among other places. The Republican state senator who sponsored the measure said he was disappointed with Snyder's decision. The governor said earlier this week that the Connecticut school shooting prompted him to give the legislation extra scrutiny. 

* Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Virginia should consider arming teachers, principals, and other school staff, in the wake of the Connecticut shooting. 

* Three incoming Democratic senators and an incumbent Democratic senator who each received high marks from the NRA said they are open to new gun laws, following the shooting in Connecticut. Sens.-elect Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said would be willing to explore new regulations. Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who said on Monday that the shooting changed his views on assault weapons, spoke with Obama by phone on Tuesday. "We agree that as Americans and parents, all of our children belong to all of us – and we must work together to keep our precious children safe," Manchin said. 

* As a backup plan, House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) said Tuesday that he will introduce a measure to raise taxes only on households earning $1 million or more, as the negotiations over the "fiscal cliff" continue. Democrats oppose the measure. 


* Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) is reportedly leaning toward a 2014 Senate run rather than a 2013 gubernatorial bid. Meanwhile, records show Booker’s fundraising adviser and former City Hall staffer purchased the web domains for  “BookerForSenate," "BookerForGovernor," and "CoryBookerForPresident."

* Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with an attorney he met during the 2010 campaign, a matter that surfaced in a custody case between the attorney and her ex-husband. McDaniel is the only declared Democratic candidate in the 2014 race, and has been viewed as an early frontrunner for his party's nomination. McDaniel's spokesperson said he does not plan to drop out of the race following the revelation. 

* Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is considering running for the Senate if Sen. John Kerry (D) leaves his seat for a spot in President Obama's cabinet -- so much so that the congressman recently put a poll in the field testing himself against other prospective Democratic contenders and outgoing Sen. Scott Brown (R). 

* House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said she hopes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016. 

* Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was sworn in as the Senate President Pro Tempore Tuesday, following the Monday evening death of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who held the position. 


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The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect tonight
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the state of drinking water in Flint, Mich. Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
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