President Barack Obama and his Republican rivals are using their weekly radio and Internet messages to send holiday greetings to Americans with special thanks to the troops.

The president was joined by his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, in recording the weekly address. She called on Americans to let troops know "just how much we appreciate everything they do."

For the GOP, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence urged Americans to remember the troops and also to think of those who are less fortunate, struggling to make ends meet in the tough economy or unable to find work.

Pence suggested people "reach out to that neighbor or friendwho needs a helping hand" as it could be "just the gift someone needed most."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)