Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey Again!

President Barack Obama got the holiday mood started at the White House on Wednesday with the traditional pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey, this time with his nephews standing in for daughters Malia and Sasha.

The light-hearted ceremony in the Rose Garden also featured Iowa-raised turkeys Tater and Tot, with the latter receiving the formal reprieve.

Obama said he has used the past seven pardon ceremonies to embarrass his daughters with what he called a “corny-copia of dad jokes” about turkeys. “This year, they had a scheduling conflict. Actually, they just couldn’t take my jokes anymore,” the president said.

President Barack Obama walks away after pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey, Tot, as the president's nephews Aaron Robinson and Austin Robinson, watch, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The White House asked people on Twitter to vote for which turkey will receive the pardon, though both will get a reprieve. The White House even provided a biography for each bird to help voters with their decision. For example, Tater’s favorite snack is worms. Tot prefers tomato slices. Each 18-week-old bird weighed in at about 40 pounds.
While only one could be named the “National Thanksgiving Turkey,” the White House said that both birds will be sent to their new home at Virginia Tech’s “Gobblers Rest” where they will be cared for by veterinarians and students.
The ceremony also gave Obama a chance to reflect on the spirit of Thanksgiving. Obama said it’s a time to remember that “we have a lot more in common than divides us.” He also challenged Americans to show the world that the United States is a generous and giving country, and to make sure everyone has something to eat on Thanksgiving.

President Barack Obama, with his nephews Aaron Robinson, front, and Austin Robinson and National Turkey Federation Chairman John Reicks, pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey, Tot, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. This is the 69th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

After the ceremony, the president and first family served Thanksgiving meals to residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington. The campus is home to 405 previously enlisted service members, who represent every campaign since World War I. Obama served the turkey and gravy and briefly chatted with veterans and workers as they went through the line.
First lady Michelle Obama served beans and spinach, while Sasha provided the mashed potatoes, dressing and cranberry sauce.
The pardoning ceremony brings levity to the endless list of serious issues the president faces daily. It inevitably also leads to several bad jokes that will leave the audience responding with “oohs” instead of laughs. A baby began crying after one of the jokes, prompting the president to reply: “Oh, it’s not that bad. Now, come on.”
Obama was not deterred by the groans or the crying saying he hopes that when somebody at the Thanksgiving dinner table says you can’t have any more food, you’ll respond: “Yes, we cran.”

President Barack Obama with first lady Michelle Obama and some relatives serve Thanksgiving meals to residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)


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