GOP candidates offered Christmas greetings to voters as a last-ditch effort to show off their conservative values and play up their likeability.
Very few candidates in the GOP 2012 race plan to take the days following Christmas off, signifying the heavy-lifting they all must do in the last week before the first Jan. 3 caucus in Iowa. However, the top contenders in the polls seized the Christmas card as an opportunity to send a lasting message to conservatives still on the fence.
Newt Gingrich’s campaign released a video that seemed subtly geared toward religious conservatives.
The video mentions prayer and American freedom. It also featured images of a lit Christmas tree, a church and an open Bible. Yet the campaign stayed away from any overt – or even clear – religious message.
The Gingrich video shows the former speaker and his wife Callista together in a book-filled study. They revel in the festive Christmas lights displayed all around the country and ponder the meaning behind Americans’ Christmas celebrations.
“We take it as a sign of great optimism,” Gingrich said.
“It reminds us of the fire of freedom in the America we love and the prayer that the goodness of our nation will be rewarded with peace and brotherhood.”
Rick Santorum, whose campaign received an important endorsement from Christian political organizer Bob Vander Plaats, did give a clear Christian message along with a Christmas family portrait in his Christmas card email.
Quoting Luke 2:10, He wished America and the troops a merry Christmas.
“As we settle into the upcoming weekend, Karen and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. May you and your family take some time to remember the real meaning of the Christmas season and reflect on the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ,” he wrote.
Luke 2:10 reads, “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’"
Santorum also wished his Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah.
Mitt Romney filmed his Christmas card video from New Hampshire, a state he hopes to win in the primaries.
Unlike the Gingriches, Romney and wife, Ann, dressed casually – with him in jeans and a sweater with no tie; her in khakis. Romney has used casual attire throughout the campaign to distract from his wealth and appeal to voters as a guy they can relate to.
Romney, like Santorum, also thanked the troops.
“I’d like to particularly thank the men and women who are serving our nation overseas. We’re thinking of you, we care for you, we hope to have you home soon. We want to wish you and all the people of this great country merry Christmas and happy holidays and a happy New Year,” he said.
While Romney, Santorum and Gingrich all attempted a subtle, light-hearted approach for the holiday, Ron Paul’s Christmas video defied convention with a straight-to the-point message.
Paul shamelessly used his Tea Party darling son, Sen. Rand Paul, to vouch for his conservative record.
He opened, “My father taught me the commitment to faith, family and our Constitution.”
Rand continued, “The Tea Party began as a protest against politicians who supported more debt and bigger government. My father Ron Paul stood against the establishment and against government bailouts. He’s always stayed true to his principles and convictions. He won’t falter, he won’t bend and he will restore what made America great.”
The only signs of Christmas in the video was blurry image of a glimmering tree in the background and the “Merry Christmas and God bless America” greeting at the very end of the taping.
Notably, Ron Paul has surpassed both Gingrich and Romney in recent Iowa polls. Despite winning a key endorsement from a social conservative, Santorum has yet to gain momentum.