Obama calls for bipartisan holiday, 'not about left or right'

President Obama used his Thanksgiving address to call for dialogue between the parties in advance of his meeting with congressional leaders next week.

He wants to hear "real and honest discussion" between party leaders when they make their visit to the White House, he said.

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"[It] isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not about left or right," he said. "It’s about us. It’s about what we know this country is capable of."

With many predicting gridlock in the next Congress, Obama said conversations between partisans will be helpful and important.

If "we…start talking with one another, we can get a lot done," he said.

Priorities include a strong economy "that runs on clean energy" and "creates the jobs of tomorrow" as well as "a responsible government that reduces its deficits," he said.


Emphasizing that the challenges of unemployment and war remain as the holiday season opens, Obama tried to offer a few notes of reassurance.

This year is "not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced," he said. The country has seen "tough odds" before.

"We are a people who endure…who built a powerful economy and stood against tyranny in all its forms," he said. The nation "connected a globe with our own science and imagination."

Obama closed by addressing the question driving the day.

"I am thankful for the privilege of being your president," he said, adding an extra note of thanks to the troops.