Amtrak touts Thanksgiving ridership numbers

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Democrats have used Amtrak ridership numbers in the past to defend the agency from Republican criticism. The GOP has repeatedly attacked President Obama's high-speed rail plans, and House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) pushed until recently to privatize Amtrak service in the Northeast, its most profitable area of the country.

Mica has since backed off the proposal, saying it was a "starting point" in negotiations over high-speed rail funding.

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