Washington (CNN) – In his weekly Internet and radio address released on Thanksgiving Day, President Obama is mixing politics and policy with typical holiday sentiments.
Less than a week before Obama is set to announce his decision on troop levels in Afghanistan, the president paid tribute to the U.S. military and the families of service members.
"We keep in our thoughts and prayers the many families marking this Thanksgiving with an empty seat – saved for a son or daughter, or husband or wife, stationed in harm's way. And we say a special thanks for the sacrifices those men and women in uniform are making for our safety and freedom, and for all those Americans who enrich the lives of our communities through acts of kindness, generosity and service."
In the message, Obama also pointed to domestic challenges. "But as much as we all have to be thankful for, we also know that this year millions of Americans are facing very difficult economic times. Many have lost jobs in this recession – the worst in generations. Many more are struggling to afford health care premiums and house payments, let alone to save for an education or retirement. Too many are wondering if the dream of a middle class life – that American Dream – is slipping away."
"....That's why we passed the Recovery Act that cut taxes for 95 percent of working people and for small businesses – and that extended unemployment benefits and health coverage for millions of Americans who lost their jobs in this turmoil," Obama says in the Thanksgiving message. "That's why we are reforming the health care system . . . . We've worked to stem the tide of foreclosures and to stop the decline in home values. We're making it easier to save for retirement and more affordable to send a son or daughter to college."
"[N]ow our economy is finally growing again," Obama also says in the message, before noting that the struggling economy has not returned to positive job creation. "So we're made progress. But we cannot rest."
He pointed to his upcoming jobs summit with business and labor leaders, set for next week.
"And it is my fervent hope – and my heartfelt expectation – that next Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate the fact that many of those who have lost their jobs are back at work, and that as a nation we will have come through these difficult storms stronger and wiser . . ."