Obama uses Thanksgiving radio address to call for bipartisanship

President Obama pardons a pair of Thanksgiving turkeys in a Rose Garden ceremony, marking the 63rd anniversary of the holiday tradition.
By Michael Leahy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 25, 2010; 5:45 PM

In yet another acknowledgment of Democrats' recent drubbing and the tectonic political shift in Washington, President Obama used much of his Thanksgiving morning radio address to call for bipartisanship in tackling the country's persistent economic ails.

Just a day after expressing relief that he had prevented another November "shellacking" by sending two pardoned turkeys to live out their days at the Mount Vernon home of George Washington, the nation's 44th president argued that neither party could achieve meaningful economic change on its own.

Citing the urgency to "accelerate this recovery," Obama said: "But we won't do it as one political party. We've got to do it as one people. And, in the coming weeks and months, I hope we can work together, Democrats and Republicans and independents alike, to make progress on these and other issues."

The president mentioned a White House meeting next week with congressional leaders from both parties, a get-together delayed once and intended, he said, to yield "a real and honest discussion." Thorny discussions await on matters including whether to permit Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the wealthy and consideration of the START nuclear treaty. Referring to the challenges of navigating the divide, Obama said, "I believe that if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done."

Republicans chose incoming Georgia congressman Austin Scott to deliver their radio address, another signal that their party's House leadership is according much attention to the vanguard of the chamber's 85 new GOP lawmakers, whose ranks include tea party supporters and others who are making deep spending cuts a priority. Scott said voters' fundamental message to Washington is clear: "Listen up, stop the job-killing policies, stop the runaway spending and focus on getting our country back on track."

Scott, 40, heralded the new Republican members as the "right group of messengers to get the job done" and, in an allusion to their outsider status, noted that they included farmers, doctors, car dealers, "a former FBI agent, a pizzeria owner and a former NFL lineman" to go along with "33 small-business people." He called the group "a new breed of leaders for a new majority and a new Congress."

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