Obama gives turkeys traditional presidential pardon

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Popcorn and Caramel will live to gobble another day. President Obama issued the traditional presidential pardon for the two 38-pound male turkeys Wednesday at the White House, accompanied by daughters Malia and Sasha.

“Generally speaking, Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey, especially in a house with two dogs,” Mr. Obama said before issuing a “full reprieve” to Popcorn, the winner of an online popularity contest.

The president, obviously with himself in mind, said Popcorn proved that “even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics.”

As for Caramel, also spared, Mr. Obama said the bird “is already busy raising money for his next campaign.”

National Turkey Federation Chairman John Burkel of Badger, Minn., and his family raised the turkeys that were chosen to present to Mr. Obama.

“Eighty turkeys competed for the chance to make it to the White House and stay off the Thanksgiving table. It was quite literally the hunger games,” the president said.

The turkeys will be taken to Mount Vernon, where they will be on display for visitors of the estate’s annual Christmas program through Jan. 6. The birds will then travel to their permanent home at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill, the historic turkey farm located at the home of former Virginia Gov. Westmoreland Davis in Leesburg.

The Obama family is participating later Wednesday in a public service event in Washington.

“This is a quintessentially American holiday,” Mr. Obama said. “This is a reminder that this is a season not only to be thankful for the incredible blessings that we have, but also to remember the neediest and generously serve those who are not as fortunate.”

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