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Holiday Greetings From The World Of Politics: Dogs, Churches, And Plaid Shirts

This is the time of year when many political figures take a moment away from the day-to-day hassles of representative democracy to acknowledge the holiday season.

Newt and Callista Gingrich communicated their Christmas wishes via a political ad on YouTube. In the video, they compare Christmas lights to "the fire of freedom" and manage to include a child and a stuffed puppy.

Because it's "Paid For By Newt 2012," there's a great moment at the end when he says, "I approve this message." There's nothing quite so festive as meeting the legal requirement that you explicitly sign off on your own Christmas card. Come to think of it, do you do this with your holiday cards? Forgery abounds, you know.

Mitt Romney's card is perhaps best titled "A Very Romney Christmas." Or perhaps "A Very Very Very Romney Christmas." You have to admit, if you had that many adorable children and grandchildren, you might do this very thing. Not sure all the boys are on board with the shirt, though.

If you're looking for someone to read you the Biblical story of Christmas, you can get that, too. From whom? From Herman Cain. Secular themes include more candles, PEACE, and sweaters.

Of course, the mix of holiday cheer and political content varies from message to message. In this address from Senator Rand Paul about his father Ron Paul, there's a blurry tree, but other than that, there's not a whole lot of Yuletide business going on here.

Lest you conclude that only those who want to be president send out holiday cards, keep in mind that those in office do, too. The Obama family Christmas card focuses on Bo, their dog, conked out by the fireplace. Themes: ribbons, canine melancholy.

Perhaps it's simpler, when calling out from the political world to the holiday world, if everyone does what Herbert Hoover did: Put on a hat, have your picture taken, and be done with it.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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