- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 24, 2006

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and for politicians, that means sending greeting cards to just about everyone.

Every year, Democrats and Republicans alike gather their families for portraits, put some warm sentiment below, and mail a batch to supporters, donors and reporters. In some cases, several potential 2008 presidential candidates sent their Santa-grams to their supporters’ e-mail inboxes, opting against a paper card.

“Happy holidays from our family to yours,” reads a headline above a Hawaiian-shirt-clad Clinton family, on a card emblazoned with snowflake art.

“My family and I wish you and your loved ones peace, joy, health and goodwill during the holidays and in the coming year,” Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York says in her holiday message to supporters. “We are lucky to have so many people touch our lives and to have such rewarding work that challenges and inspires us.”

While some mention Christmas by name, others played it safe.

“Wishing you and your family all the joy of the holiday season and the hope that the new year brings,” said Sen. Barack Obama, featured on his card sitting in a park with wife Michelle and smiling daughters Malia and Sasha.

Former Sen. John Edwards, expected to announce another presidential run this week, uses his Christmas card to subtly promote his new book, “Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives.”

“The blessings of home remind us of the sacrifice of those who leave their homes to make a better world,” the card begins in the North Carolina Democrat’s handwriting. They also “remind us that too many are without shelter, reassure us of the hallmarks of home — love and security, and remind us of friendships, old and new, that sustain us.”

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat running for president, tells supporters that the holiday season “unites people all across our nation and much of the world” in a card including a casual photo of his family.

“It is a time to reflect on what matters most in our lives, including family and community, and to resolve to do even better in the coming year,” he said. “May God bless all of us with the energy, opportunity and courage to continue working for change in 2007.”

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Delaware Democrat considering a presidential run, sent a card featuring a beaming Biden family.

“Like many of your homes, we have our favorite decorations up, ready for family and friends to gather for dinner, to warm our hearts with songs, and to share in the delight of watching our grandchildren open presents,” he said, adding, “Already our Jewish friends have started their blessed celebration of Chanukah, with the lights of the Menorah burning bright.”

Most cards featured large family photos emblazoned with snowflakes or Christmas holly, but a few folks — including outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist — gave their holiday wishes without an accompanying image.

“We join you in celebrating family, friends and faith,” wrote the Tennessee Republican, who decided against a 2008 White House bid.

Mr. Frist, a physician, promised to update supporters on his future plans, and noted a February trip to treat AIDS patients in Kenya and Sudan. “My work in Africa has always served to center me and ground me in the oneness of humanity,” he said.

In the lengthy note to supporters, he outlined his last Christmas in Washington, plans for a father-son hunting trip and the comings and goings of the Frist children.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean sent out a statement laden with Christmas love.

“As we gather together in this time of home and remembrance, we give thanks for the blessings in our lives, and reflect on the values that unite us,” Mr. Dean said. “In keeping with the traditions of Christmas, we honor Christ’s calling to feed the hungry and care for the sick and suffering.”

Several politicians paused to honor troops serving overseas in their cards.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with these courageous soldiers and their families who share in their duty and sacrifice as they put into action the timeless Christmas wish for peace on earth,” Mr. Dean said.

Even also-rans sent out holiday greetings this year.

“We wanted to take just a moment out of your busy holiday schedule to wish you and your family a happy holiday season and best wishes for a new year full of hope, health and happiness,” reads a card sent out by former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

The e-card prompted the political blog Hotline on Call to wonder whether the Democrat might be considering jumping back into the presidential race after ending his bid in October.

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