News / USA

Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey

President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha (l) and Malia carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," Nov. 21, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House.President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha (l) and Malia carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," Nov. 21, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House.
x
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha (l) and Malia carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," Nov. 21, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House.
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha (l) and Malia carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," Nov. 21, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Kent Klein
— Although millions of Americans will eat turkey on Thursday, November 22,  as part of their Thanksgiving holiday feast, President Barack Obama has spared two special turkeys. President Obama took part on Wednesday in the lighthearted annual tradition of the presidential turkey pardon.

The president entered the Rose Garden in a jovial mood, comparing the reprieve he was about to give the turkeys with his own reelection earlier this month.   

“They say that life is all about second chances.  And this November, I could not agree more.  So in the spirit of the season, I have one more gift to give, and it goes to a pair of turkeys named Cobbler and Gobbler," said President Obama.

The White House turkey pardon is the unofficial start of Thanksgiving celebrations.  As Obama told guests and reporters, the holiday is dedicated to expressions of gratitude.
 
“Tomorrow, in the company of friends and loved ones, we will celebrate a uniquely American holiday.  And it is a chance for us to spend time with the people we care about, and to give thanks for the blessings that we enjoy," said Obama.

The president reminded Americans to think of those who are less fortunate, including those affected by the recent devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

“In the last few weeks, I had a chance to visit both New Jersey and New York.  And while I have seen entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble and heartbreaking loss and devastation, I have yet to find a broken spirit," he said.

Also on the president’s agenda Wednesday was a trip to a local food bank, where he and his family delivered turkeys for those in need.

The main turkey being pardoned was named Cobbler, and the alternate, Gobbler.  Both are 19-month-old, 18-kilogram turkeys.  The names were chosen by children from Rockingham County, Virginia, where the turkeys were raised.

For the first time, the American public chose which of the two birds would be the National Thanksgiving Turkey through a vote on the White House Facebook page.

The “turkey pardon” tradition is said to have begun with President Abraham Lincoln.  It is said he was presented with a turkey for Christmas in 1863.  But his son developed a liking for the bird and the president decided to keep it.

Many presidents have been presented with Thanksgiving turkeys, but the annual custom of “pardoning” the bird was formalized by President George H. W. Bush in 1989.

The American Turkey Federation estimates that Americans ate 46 million turkeys last Thanksgiving.  Despite slightly higher prices this year, turkey sales are up, according to John Anderson, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Prices for turkeys have been pretty good.  They have been up a little bit, compared to a year ago.  If you look at the availability of turkeys, we have actually had pretty good turkey production, some increase in turkey production, it looks like, this year.  So the higher price, along with the higher production, suggests that demand for turkeys has been pretty good," said Anderson.

Cobbler and Gobbler will not be among the turkeys consumed this Thanksgiving.  The night before their White House appearance, the birds stayed in a suite at Washington’s posh W Hotel.  They will spend the rest of their lives in a custom-made enclosure on the farm at Mount Vernon, the Virginia estate of the first U.S. president, George Washington.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid