Obama, GOP take a political breather with Thanksgiving cease-fire

Between the intense scrutiny on Obamacare and the chorus of reactions to the emerging nuclear deal with Iran, there’s plenty of fodder for political warfare this Thanksgiving weekend.

But in their weekly addresses – so often the site of partisan sniping and sloganeering – President Obama and Republicans laid down their arms, if only for a few brief minutes, to pause and reflect on what makes them thankful this holiday season.

The president extended his gratitude to people who volunteer their time at soup kitchens or service projects over Thanksgiving weekend. “That big-hearted generosity is a central part of our American character,” he said in the address, which was released Thursday. “We believe in lending a hand to folks who need it. We believe in pitching in to solve problems even if they aren’t our problems. And that’s not a one-day-a-year belief.  It’s part of the fabric of our nation.”

He also reserved special praise for members of the military and their families “who are surely missing them very much.”

“We give thanks for the freedoms they defend – the freedom to think what we want and say what we think, to worship according to our own beliefs, to choose our leaders and, yes, criticize them without punishment,” the president said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also thanked the troops in the weekly Republican address on Thursday, particularly those who are serving overseas.

“As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I’ve had the great honor of meeting many of these American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Together, they make up the greatest fighting force in the history of the world,” he said. “I have been fortunate to witness first-hand the remarkable work they have done and continue to do in some of the most challenging of circumstances. Whether in the cities of Iraq or the many remote, isolated villages of Afghanistan.”

Graham lauded the troops as some of the “best ambassadors” the United States could ask for.

“Whether sharing their food and water, or pooling their own money to buy a soccer ball for a child who owns next to nothing – they are living proof of the American spirit of helping others who are down and out,” he said. “They are tough and determined, yet equally kind and compassionate.”

And it is because of “the bravery of the troops,” Graham said, “and their willingness to endure tremendous hardships that we are able to be at home with our families this holiday season.”