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Politicians thank the troops on Christmas

As politicians send out their holiday greetings for Christmas, many are choosing to send their thanks to American troops serving abroad.

Perhaps the most dedicated of those lawmakers is Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who wrote in a tweet that he was "honored" to spend Christmas Eve with troops in Afghanistan this year.

Others sent their thanks from home.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made Christmas the focus of their weekly address.

"We hope that this holiday season will be a chance for us to live out that message--to bridge our differences and lift up our families, friends, and neighbors and to reconnect with the values that bind us together," Michelle Obama said. "As a country, that also means celebrating and honoring those who have served and sacrificed for all of us--our troops, veterans, and their families."

The president reminded Americans that the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan will come to a close at the end of the year.

"That gives us an opportunity to step back and reflect upon all that these families have given us. We're able to gather with family and friends because our troops are willing to hug theirs goodbye and step forward to serve. After a long day, we can come home because they're willing to leave their families and deploy. We can celebrate the holidays because they're willing to miss their own," he said.

In his own video message, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said, "Many of you are far from home during the holidays missing your family and your friends. Kentucky misses you too and we're proud of your service. We're honored to have heroes like you protecting us."

In another video, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's wife, Tonette, said she is thankful for "the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms and are unable to spend time with their families this holiday season."

Some politicians focused on other aspects of the holiday. In a statement, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, noted residents of his state who are involved in helping give Christmas gifts to the needy and quoted a bible verse.

"Their generosity, and that of millions of other Texans across the state, is a powerful example of Christ's faithfulness in times of need," Cruz said. "It is also an important reminder, as Mark 10:45 says, that 'even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.' I hope and pray your Christmas season is filled with joy and restful time with family and loved ones."

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders tipped his cap to some of the hardest-working Americans at this time of year: postal workers.

Then there were the messages that offered mostly levity.

"Merry #ChristmasEve from Skye & all of us at the Capitol! #holidayspirit #dogsofinstagram" wrote Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Instagram alongside a photograph of his dog with a Santa hat drawn on.

Merry #ChristmasEve from Skye & all of us at the Capitol! #holidayspirit #dogsofinstagram

A photo posted by John W. Hickenlooper (@hickforco) on

Other politicians had a slightly more targeted audience in mind for some of their holiday greetings. The Des Moines Register reports that at least five potential presidential hopefuls have sent holiday cards to people in Iowa, the state that holds the nation's first caucus.

Cards arrived from 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.

Both Christie and Cruz included bible verses and family photos. Romney also sent a picture of his very large family that includes more than 20 grandchildren.

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