Weekly remarks: The Obamas, Duncan Hunter say Merry Christmas, but GOP bemoans high joblessness
Weekly remarks by President Obama and, this week, Michelle Obama, as provided by the White House
PRESIDENT: Hello everyone, and Merry Christmas. As you and your families gather to celebrate the holidays, we wanted to take a moment to send greetings from our family—from me, from Michelle, from Malia and Sasha—and from Bo.
FIRST LADY:This is our first Christmas in the White House, and we are so grateful for this extraordinary experience. Not far from here, in the Blue Room, is the official White House Christmas Tree. It’s an 18-foot tall Douglas-fir from West Virginia and it’s decorated with hundreds of ornaments designed by people and children from all over the country. Each one is a reminder of the traditions we cherish as Americans and the blessings we’re thankful for this holiday season.
PRESIDENT: That’s right, especially as we continue to recover from an extraordinary recession that still has so many Americans hurting: parents without a job who struggled to put presents under the Christmas tree; families and neighbors who’ve seen their home foreclosed; folks wondering what the new year will bring.
But even in these tough times, there’s still so much to celebrate this Christmas. A message of peace and brotherhood that continues to inspire more than 2,000 after Jesus’ ...
...birth. The love of family and friends. The bonds of community and country. And the character and courage of our men and women in uniform who are far from home for the holidays, away from their families, risking their lives to protect ours.
To all our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen—I have no greater honor than serving as your Commander in Chief. I’ve been awed by your selfless spirit, your eagerness to serve—at the Naval Academy and West Point. I’ve been energized by your dedication to duty—from Baghdad to the Korean Peninsula. Michelle and I have been moved by your determination—wounded warriors at Walter Reed and Bethesda, fighting to recover, to get back to your units.
And I’ve been humbled, profoundly, by patriots who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. In flag-draped caskets coming home at Dover. In the quiet solitude of Arlington. And after years of multiple tours of duty, as you carry on with our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, your service, your readiness to make that same sacrifice, is an inspiration to us and to every American.
FIRST LADY: And so are your families. As First Lady, one of my greatest privileges is to visit with military families across the country. I’ve met military spouses doing the parenting of two—keeping the household together, juggling play dates and soccer games, helping with homework, doing everything they can to make the kids feel OK even as they try to hide their own fears and worries.
I’ve met kids who wonder when mom or dad is coming home; grandparents and relatives who step in to care for our wounded warriors; and folks trying to carry on after losing the person they loved most in the world.
And through it all, these families somehow still find the time and energy to serve their communities as well—coaching Little League, running the PTA, raising money to help those less fortunate than they are, and more.
But even these strong military families can use a hand, especially during the holidays. If you live near a military base, you can reach out through your workplaces, your schools, your churches. There are so many ways to help—with child care, with errands, or by just bringing over a home-cooked meal. Even if you don’t know a military family nearby, your family can still help by donating or volunteering at organizations that support military families.
PRESIDENT: You can also reach out directly to our forces around the world. Kids can make a card that will bring a smile to an American far from home. Adults can send a care package or a pre-paid phone card that makes the tour at little easier. Every American can do something to support our troops, even if it’s as simple as just saying thank you. For more ways to let our troops know you care, go to www.whitehouse.gov
So to all our men and women in uniform spending the holidays far from home—whether it’s at a base here in the states, a mess hall in Iraq or a remote outpost in Afghanistan, know that you are in our thoughts and our prayers. And this holiday season—and every Holiday season—know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure you can succeed in your missions and come home safe to your families.
FIRST LADY: And to all Americans, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas.
PRESIDENT: Merry Christmas, everybody. ###
I’m Congressman Duncan Hunter, and I represent the 52nd Congressional District of California, the area around San Diego.
In this holiday season, I hope we all take time to offer thanks and prayers to the men and women of our Armed Forces. Many of these service members will spend the holidays away from home, on the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan, at bases and on ships around the world.
I understand the sacrifices they are making. Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, I quit my job and joined the Marine Corps. Prior to coming to Congress, I was deployed to warzones on three separate occasions, twice in Iraq and once in Afghanistan. Just last month, actually, I had an opportunity to visit with our troops in Afghanistan.
I know we all wish everyone could be home for the holidays, but this is not a time for sadness or regret.
Thoughts of home remind us of why we serve: because we’re proud to be Americans, because we want to pass on to our children the blessings of liberty that we inherited from our forefathers, and because nothing matters more to us than protecting our homes and our families.
Our hope is that as a result of this determination and sacrifice, we will never again see our cities and citizens under attack.
I hope we also take a moment this year to reflect on those suffering here at home. For too many families, this will be a difficult Christmas.
One in ten Americans are unemployed. Nearly six million of our citizens have been looking for work for more than six months – the most on record.
All year long, Republicans have offered common-sense solutions to put more money back into the pockets of hard-working families and to help small businesses create more jobs. We’ve also outlined a plan to lower health care premiums by up to 10 percent.
And we have proposed an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy to create more American jobs, ease the strain on family budgets, and clean up our environment. Just as important, these solutions do not raise taxes, grow government, or add to the already skyrocketing debt burden being placed on our kids and grandkids.
After all the promises and all the spending we’ve seen out of Washington this year, out-of-work families are right to be asking, ‘where are the jobs?’ Republicans believe our top priority when it comes to the economy should be simple: first, do no harm.
So let’s resolve in the new year to end misguided efforts to create new laws that will cost even more jobs, whether it’s the “cap and trade” national energy tax, the government takeover of health care, “card check,” or even more tax increases.
Working together, we can make the next holiday season even brighter for all Americans. Thank you, happy holidays and God Bless America. ###Speaking of messages, here's one to click for Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. We're also over here on Facebook, though the list is fast filling up. And our new Facebook fan page is here.
Photos: Top, the national Christmas tree. Credit: Kevin Lamaraque / Reuters. Middle, the Capitol Christmas tree. Credit: Architect of the Capitol. Bottom, Duncan D. Hunter. (Editor's Note: A photo of Rep. Hunter's father, also a Republican representative with the same name, appeared her briefly.) Credit: His office.