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Bush Thanks Troops in Weekly Radio Address

President Bush is spending the long Thanksgiving weekend at his Texas ranch. The president used his weekly radio address to thank U.S. troops. Democrats used their radio address to criticize the president's energy policy.

President Bush says Americans are thankful for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who he says are securing the peace in dangerous times. Many of them are spending this holiday far from home.

"They are serving with courage and skill in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to defend our freedom, and extend the blessings of freedom to others," said George W. Bush. "In the past year, these brave Americans have continued to fight terrorists abroad, so we do not have to face them here at home."

President Bush says U.S. troops are helping the people of Iraq and Afghanistan hold what he calls "historic and successful elections."

The president has been trying to focus public attention on elections in Iraq next month as a way of demonstrating progress in a war that is increasingly unpopular.

Mr. Bush is resisting calls from some Congressional Democrats to get U.S. troops out of Iraq, saying withdrawing troops too soon would embolden the enemy and imperil the country's political future.

He is also facing more protests outside his Texas ranch, where thousands of people gathered several months ago to demonstrate against the war. The Thanksgiving protests were smaller and were met by counter protests by Bush supporters, as well.

In his weekly radio address, President Bush said Thanksgiving is a time to share one's blessings with others. He thanked Americans for helping Gulf Coast communities recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and urged people to continue helping those affected by last month's devastating earthquake in South Asia.

In the Democratic radio address, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire said President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress need to do more to curb rising energy costs.

Along with Democratic governors in New Mexico and Pennsylvania, Ms. Gregoire said her state is helping more people deal with record home heating costs by controlling prices, reducing use of foreign oil and embracing alternative energy sources.

She wants the president to adopt a comprehensive policy with state and federal commitments to curb energy costs over America's winter months.