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Obama's Thanksgiving message cites need for bipartisan cooperation

By the CNN Wire Staff
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First family's feast for the needy
  • NEW: President Obama calls troops on Thanksgiving
  • The president uses his weekly address to wish Americans a happy Thanksgiving
  • Obama calls the holiday one of counting blessings and helping others
  • The first family helped distribute Thanksgiving food packages Wednesday

Washington (CNN) -- President Obama wished the nation a happy Thanksgiving on Thursday and also used his weekly address to renew his call for bipartisan cooperation on addressing major issues facing the nation.

In the remarks usually delivered on a Saturday, Obama said the first family will have the same kind of holiday experienced by millions of Americans -- filled with friends and relatives, good food and football.

"And just as folks have done in every Thanksgiving since the first, we'll spend some time taking stock of what we're thankful for: the God-given bounty of America and the blessings of one another," the president said.

The White House menu Thursday featured traditional Thanksgiving fare, including turkey, ham, two kinds of stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, along with macaroni and cheese, greens and five other kinds of pie.

Obama called for Americans to think about those less fortunate and saluted the "countless" Americans serving their country and communities, from soldiers on guard around the world to volunteers at local soup kitchens and food pantries.

On Thursday morning, Obama called 10 members of the military -- two from each the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy -- deployed in the U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House said.

The president "thanked each of them for their service and sacrifice and wished them and their families a Happy Thanksgiving," the White House statement said.

The day before, the first family spent an hour handing out Thanksgiving dinner packages to people at Martha's Table, a local aid organization.

Such service is "emblematic of what Americans have always done," Obama said in his weekly address.

"We come together and do what's required to make tomorrow better than today," he said. "That's who we are."

That means supporting the nation's soldiers and working together to help spur faster economic recovery from the recession, he said.

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

Noting his scheduled meeting Tuesday with congressional leaders from both parties, Obama said it was time for "a real and honest discussion, because I believe that if we stop talking at one another and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done."

"For what we are called to do again today isn't about Democrats or Republicans," he said. "It's not about left or right. It's about us. It's about what we know this country is capable of. It's about what we want America to be in this new century."