Calling herself the 'hostess-in-chief,' first lady Michelle Obama puts a positive spin on preparations for the annual Christmas deluge of visitors to a decked out White House.
From storms to politics, the year was a wild ride. What are the most meaningful US stories of 2012? Here's the Monitor's list, in roughly chronological order.
Democratic budget leader Rep. Chris Van Hollen urges that the national debt ceiling be raised as part of the year-end talks to avoid the 'fiscal cliff,' rather than waiting until late winter to address it.