POLITICO reached out to leading lawmakers, prominent members of the press corps, well-known consultants, and others to find out what's on their minds as they and their families, along with those around the country, sit down for a day of turkey and football.
Some responses were stuffed with humor, others spiced with seriousness, and a few, well, they were as delicious as your favorite gravy.
"I am so grateful for my family and friends and thankful that the results of this election showed that a majority of the country finally affirms our right to be a family," said Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen, who is openly gay and was referring to President Barack Obama's public support for same-sex marriage months ahead of his reelection.
"From Mitt Romney's warm personality to inept Republican leaders and awful super PAC consultants for the 1 perdent -- we have four more years and a thousand things to be thankful for," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Mother Jones's David Corn, whose publication broke one of the biggest stories of the campaign -- the secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney's now infamous "47 percent" comment -- said, cheekily, that he's "especially thankful that the Republicans nominated Mitt Romney and he spoke candidly at a particular fundraiser in Boca Raton."
This might not be very appetizing on Thanksgiving, but Alaska Sen. Mark Begich's thoughts ran to oil and gas.
"I'm thankful to see more moderate Democrats joining me in the Senate for the 113th Congress, especially as it relates to oil and gas development," he told POLITICO.
It probably won't come as a surprise that Arianna Huffington mixed current events, politics and a couple of shots at Republicans -- with a little humor on the side.
"I'm thankful that Paula Broadwell doesn't have my personal email address, that Marco Rubio wasn't my science teacher, and that neither Todd Akin nor Richard Mourdock is my ob-gyn," she said.
"I am especially thankful for Priorities USA Action," said Democratic strategist Paul Begala, referring to the pro-Obama super PAC "which Sean Sweeney and Bill Burton built from a two-man operation. ... Our staff, donors and consultants made us the David who toppled the Koch-Rove-Romney Goliath."
Whatever happened to the notion that politics shouldn't be discussed at the dinner table? Not in Alan Colmes' house.
"I am thankful that the election of 2012 is finally behind us, and that we didn't elect a candidate who had more positions than the Kama Sutra," said Colmes, author of "Thank the Liberals.""I'm thankful that the more extreme elements of the Republican Party, such as those that believe some categories of rape are more benign than others, or that forced sex dictates likelihood of pregnancy, won't be in positions to make public policy. And I'm thankful that the next two Supreme Court nominees are likely to come from the president who brought us Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, and not from a man advised by Robert Bork."
Radio show host Michael Smerconish found a down-the-middle way to give thanks -- and deliver a serious message -- for this year's election cycle.
"I am thankful that a long overdue conversation about incivility in the polarized press and the affect it has on Washington is finally coming to the forefront," he said. "We've learned the hard way that the nation loses when conversation about serious issues is led by carnival barkers."
Win or lose, left or right (turkey?) wing, plenty are just glad that the election is simply over.
"I'm grateful that we don't have to spend THIS holiday season in Iowa & New Hampshire," C-SPAN's Steve Scully wrote in an email. "Not that we don't like it there, but there's no place like home."
Exhaustion and homesickness aside, a few reporters remain thankful that they even had the chance to cover this year's races.
"I truly am grateful that I get paid for reporting and commenting on the history-making events of our day," said Corn.
Fox News's Greta Van Susteren said, "I am thankful Fox (in the last 10? years) has spent a fortune sending me all over the world (from North Korea to Afghanistan!) to interview so many people and see so much -- most anchors have to rely on reading the Internet to do their work." Hear that, Roger?
Republican consultant Mark McKinnon may not have seen his party in the winning column this year, but he sees a silver lining, saying that he's "thankful most Republicans seem to be learning the right lessons from the election."
And former Romney advisor Kevin Madden won't be enjoying his candidate measuring drapes for the Oval Office, but he is thankful to the people who made his job possible.
"Having spent a great deal of time on the campaign trail the last few months, which kept me away from home for long stretches of time, I'm incredibly thankful for my family and how special it is to get to spend time with them again," said Madden.
The strain of life in politics means that family support is a constant source of thanks this time of year, a number of responses received by POLITICO show.
"And of course I'm thankful for my family and for being able to maintain the kind of work/life balance that still lets me attend my son's soccer games and walk him to school every day," said Begich.
"I am thankful for my wife and kids," said RedState's Erick Erickson. "I am thankful for so many people putting up with me, even when they'd rather not. I am truly thankful this insufferable and eternal campaign season has ended and most of my friends have finally snapped out of their depression."
Americans for Tax Reform's Grover Norquist gives thanks to his "two wonderful daughters and their mother."
Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff is also thankful for his family, who pushed forward while he served time in prison.
"I am thankful that I have a cherished partner in my beloved wife Pam, who has had to endure much and enabled our survival," said Abramoff, who added, "Above all, I am grateful and thankful to have reached another season of thanksgiving in freedom and peace."
ABC senior White House correspondent and "The Outpost" author Jake Tapper gave thanks that "My wife and children and brother and parents are happy and healthy, and nothing could make me happier than seeing them thrive, especially the wee ones."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: "[My wife] Diana and I are thankful for all three kids coming home, having endured the first three months of empty nesthood."
Former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said he's thankful "for my family and friends. But especially that this is the only day in the year my wife Rhoda cooks."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi: "The love and blessings of family and friends."
Begala: "I am thankful for the wife who gave me four very nearly perfect boys. I am thankful my Mama has moved from Texas to within 10 minutes of my home."
Huffington: "This Thanksgiving I'm planning to go on a long walk around New York with Christina and Isabella, my two daughters for whom I'm most deeply thankful."
Rep. Darrell Issa: "I've been blessed with a loving family, wonderful friends and the opportunity to serve the people of southern California in Congress" (Issa's actually using his Facebook to ask what his constituents are thankful for).
Rep. Peter King of New York: "I am thankful that my family is healthy, that I had no real damage from Hurricane Sandy and also that I was re-elected."
Second only to thanking family is, for most politicos, paying respect to the troops.
Madden said his time away from family during the campaign season "was nothing, though, when compared to the sacrifice that the men and women of our armed forces endure in order to provide all Americans the comfort of safety and security at home and abroad. These incredible Americans are away from friends and family for much longer stretches of time, all while in harm's way, and I'm reminded of that often and on Thanksgiving Day in particular."
"I resisted answering this because it's going to sound cornball, especially to POLITICO readers who are used to pols proclaiming their exclusive love of ketchup while secretly bathing in a tub of mustard," said Tapper. "But ... I'm thankful for the men and women we have serving in uniform. ... And as anyone who knows me can attest, my recent project reporting on the military has really opened my eyes to a whole world of selflessness that most of us take for granted: the sacrifices made by members of our military and their families. Their stories are tragic and inspiring and worthy of more attention."
Pelosi thanked "the service and sacrifice of our troops and our veterans, the spirit of compassion and patriotism of the American people."
And for dessert on this Thanksgiving? How about some sports?
"I am most thankful that Baylor and Stanford had big wins last Saturday night! Roll Tide!" said Alabama Republican Rep. Jo Bonner.
And California Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson gave thanks to "the World Champion San Francisco Giants."
To perhaps avoid an overly serious Thanksgiving dinner, there were a few more light-hearted reflections this year.
Norquist joked that he's thankful for "the foresight to shift my 401(k) to gold and Twinkies."
Begich said, "I'm thankful for hot dogs, without which I'd never make it through the day in the Senate, but I'm also thankful that the Thanksgiving meal will be a bit healthier."
Begala said he's "thankful for my neighbors who put nine Mitt Romney signs in my front yard on election night."
"I am thankful for Twitter," said Corn.
(We at least hope that he's joking.)
And, from all of us at POLITICO, thanks to all of you -- readers, colleagues, competitors, lawmakers, officials, operatives and everyone -- for enriching our work and our lives. Happy Thanksgiving.
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