Full Text Political Transcripts November 23, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Final Pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

Source: WH, 11-22-16

President Barack Obama and nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson watch National Thanksgiving Turkey Tater flap during the pardon of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 23, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama and nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson watch National Thanksgiving Turkey Tater flap during the pardon of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 23, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

2:42 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  (Applause.)  Thank you so much, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Have a seat.

For generations, Presidents have faithfully executed two great American traditions:  issuing a proclamation that sets aside a Thursday in November for us to express gratitude, and granting pardons that reflect our beliefs in second chances.  And this week, we do both.  (Laughter.)

Of course, Thanksgiving is a family holiday as much as a national one.  So for the past seven years, I’ve established another tradition:  embarrassing my daughters with a “corny-copia” of dad jokes about turkeys.  (Laughter.)  This year, they had a scheduling conflict.  (Laughter.)  Actually, they just couldn’t take my jokes anymore.  (Laughter.)  They were fed up.

AUDIENCE:  Oooooh —

THE PRESIDENT:  Fortunately, I have by my side here today two of my nephews — Austin and Aaron Robinson — who, unlike Malia and Sasha, have not yet been turned cynical by Washington. (Laughter.)  They still believe in bad puns.  They still appreciate the grandeur of this occasion.  They still have hope. (Laughter.)

Malia and Sasha, by the way, are thankful that this is my final presidential turkey pardon.  What I haven’t told them yet is that we are going to do this every year from now on.  (Laughter.)  No cameras.  Just us.  Every year.  No way I’m cutting this habit cold turkey.  (Laughter and applause.)

Good one.  That was pretty funny.  (Laughter.)

Thanksgiving is a chance — (laughter) — to gather with loved ones, reflect on our many blessings, and, after a long campaign season, finally turn our attention from polls to poultry.  This year, we’re honored to be joined by two of the lucky ones, who were raised by the Domino family in Iowa:  Tater and Tot.

Now, Tater is here in a backup role, just in case Tot can’t fulfill his duties.  So he’s sort of like the Vice Turkey.  We’re working on getting him a pair of aviator glasses.  (Laughter.)

And it is my great privilege — well, it’s my privilege –actually, let’s just say it’s my job — (laughter) — to grant them clemency this afternoon.  As I do, I want to take a moment to recognize the brave turkeys who weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom — (laughter) — who met their fate with courage and sacrifice — and proved that they weren’t chicken.  (Laughter.)

(Baby cries.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, it’s not that bad.  Now, come one.  (Laughter.)

Of course, we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Six straight years of job creation — the longest streak ever.  Low unemployment.  Wages are rising again.  Inequality is narrowing.  The housing market is healing.  The stock market has nearly tripled.  Our high school graduation rate is at an all-time high.  And our uninsured rate is at an all-time low, thanks to the 20 million more Americans, including millions of children, who finally know the security of health insurance.  (Applause.)   That’s worth gobbling about.  (Laughter.)

Proud families across the country are finally complete now that marriage equality is the law of the land.  And there are many families of servicemembers who had empty chairs at the table in recent years but who on this Thanksgiving can celebrate with our brave troops and veterans who we’ve welcomed home.

Thanksgiving is also a reminder of the source of our national strength — that out of many, we are one; that we’re bound not by any one race or religion, but rather by an adherence to a common creed, that all of us are created equal.  And while accepting our differences and building a diverse society has never been easy, it has never been more important.  We are a people that look out for one another and get each other’s backs. We keep moving forward, defined by values and ideals that have been a light to all humanity.

We have to see ourselves in each other because we’ve all got families we love, and we all have hopes for their better future. And we lose sight of that sometimes, and Thanksgiving is a good time for us to remember that.  We have a lot more in common than divides us.

The holidays are also a time when it’s even more important to reach out to those who need a helping hand.  I believe we’re judged by how we care for the poor and the vulnerable, the sick and the elderly, the immigrant, the refugee, everybody who’s trying to get a second chance.  I believe that in order to truly live up to those ideals we have to continually fight discrimination in all its forms and always show the world that America is a generous and giving country.

We should also make sure everyone has something to eat on Thanksgiving — of course, except the turkeys, because they’re already stuffed.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE:  Ooooh —

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  So, later today, the Obama family will participate in our traditional Thanksgiving service project.  And when somebody at your table tells you that you’ve been hogging all the side dishes and you can’t have any more, I hope you respond with a creed that sums up the spirit of a hungry people:  Yes, We Cran.  (Laughter.)  That was good.  (Laughter.) You don’t think that’s funny?  Look, I know there are some bad ones in here, but this is the last time I’m doing this, so we’re not leaving any room for leftovers.  (Laughter.)

Let me just say — how am I doing?  Good?  Thumbs up?

Let me just say one last thing before I spare these turkeys’ lives.  On this Thanksgiving, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the American people for the trust that you’ve placed in me over these last eight years and the incredible kindness that you’ve shown my family.  On behalf of Michelle, and my mother-in-law, and our girls, we want to thank you so very, very much.

And now, from the Rose Garden, Tater and Tot will go to their new home at Virginia Tech — which is admittedly a bit Hokie.  (Laughter.)  They’ll get to live out their natural lives at a new facility called Gobblers Rest, where students and veterinarians will care for them.  And so let’s get on with the pardoning because it’s Wednesday afternoon and everyone knows that Thanksgiving traffic can put people in a “fowl” mood.

AUDIENCE:  Ooooh —

THE PRESIDENT:  Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  Let’s go pardon these turkeys.  (Applause.)

END
2:51 P.M. EST

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Full Text Obama Presidency November 26, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Pardoning of the National Turkey — Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Pardons a Thanksgiving Turkey

Source: WH, 11-26-14

President Barack Obama, National Turkey Federation Chairman Gary Cooper; and son Cole Cooper participate in the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey pardon ceremony in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Nov. 26, 2014.President Barack Obama, National Turkey Federation Chairman Gary Cooper; and son Cole Cooper participate in the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey pardon ceremony in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Nov. 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Remarks by the President at Pardoning of the National Turkey

Source: WH, 11-26-14 

Cross Hall

2:32 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:Good afternoon, everybody.Please have a seat.Normally we do this outside.The weather is not cooperating today.But I want to, first of all, on behalf of Malia and Sasha, wish everybody an early Happy Thanksgiving.I am here to announce what I’m sure will be the most talked-about executive action this month.(Laughter.)Today, I’m taking an action fully within my legal authority — (laughter) — the same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before me — to spare the lives of two turkeys, Mac and Cheese, from a terrible and delicious fate.(Laughter.)

I want to thank Joel Brandenberger, the president of the National Turkey Federation; Gary Cooper, its chairman; and his son Cole Cooper, who personally raised Mac and Cheese.Give them a big round of applause.(Applause.)Cole is keeping a pretty careful eye there on Cheese.(Laughter.)Uh-oh, he’s getting pretty excited about this.

Thanks to all those who voted online to pick the official National Thanksgiving Turkey.Cheese wants you to know that he won.(Laughter.)Mac, the alternate, is not so badly off either.Let’s face it — if you’re a turkey, and you’re named after a side dish — (laughter) — your chances of escaping Thanksgiving dinner are pretty low.So these guys are well ahead of the curve.They really beat the odds.

It is important to know that turkeys have always had powerful allies.Many of you know that Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country.He is a bird of bad moral character…the turkey is, in comparison, a much more respectable bird.”(Laughter.)I think these two turkeys would agree with Mr. Franklin.And they’ll get to live out the rest of their days, respectably, at a Virginia estate with 10,000 {sic} acres of roaming space.

I know some will call this amnesty — (laughter) — but don’t worry, there’s plenty of turkey to go around.(Laughter.) In fact, later this afternoon, Michelle, Malia and Sasha and I will take two turkeys that didn’t make the cut to a local food pantry that works hard year-round to make sure that folks in our Nation’s Capital have food to eat and clothes to wear.I want to thank Jaindl Turkey Farm in Pennsylvania for donating once again those birds for — it’s, in fact, been six years in a row that they’ve made these contributions — and for making Thanksgiving dinner possible for some of our fellow Americans.

Finally, The Washington Post recently questioned the wisdom of the whole turkey pardon tradition.“Typically on the day before Thanksgiving,” the story went, “the man who makes decisions about wars, virus outbreaks, terrorism cells and other dire matters of state, chooses to pardon a single turkey … plus an alternate.”

Tell me about it.It is a little puzzling that I do this every year.(Laughter.)But I will say that I enjoy it because with all the tough stuff that swirls around in this office, it’s nice once in a while just to say:Happy Thanksgiving.And this is a great excuse to do it.

Tomorrow is a pretty special moment when we give thanks for the people we love, and where we’re mindful of the incredible blessings that we have received.We remember the folks who can’t spend their holiday at home, especially the brave men and women in uniform who help keep our country secure.And we celebrate a holiday that, at its best, is about what makes this nation great — and that’s its generosity and its openness, and, as President Franklin Roosevelt once said, our commitment, “to make a country in which no one is left out.”

Now, because I know everyone wants to get out of town, Mac and Cheese included — (laughter) — it is time for me to engage in the official act.So let’s see what we can do here with Cheese.

Come on, girls.(Laughter.)All right, are we ready?Cheese, you are hereby pardoned from the Thanksgiving dinner table.(Laughter.)Congratulations.(Applause.)

He looks pretty happy about it.(Laughter.)All right, if you want to take Cheese down, that’s okay.(Laughter.)I will tell you, though, turkeys don’t have the best-looking heads.(Laughter.)You know what I’m saying?You think they’re beautiful?

MR. COOPER:I think they’re beautiful — they’re red, white and blue —

THE PRESIDENT:There’s a patriotism element to it.(Laughter.)Absolutely.(To Malia and Sasha) — Do you want to pet him?

MALIA:No.(Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:Thank you.Good to see you.Appreciate you.

Thank you, everybody.Happy Thanksgiving.(Applause.)

END
2:38 P.M. EST

Political Musings November 27, 2013: Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey at White House ceremony

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey at White House ceremony

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The next National Thanksgiving Turkey and winner of this year’s annual presidential pardon is… Popcorn. On Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 President Barack Obama with the help of his daughters Malia and Sasha conducted this year’s…READ MORE

Political Headlines November 27, 2013: President Barack Obama names Popcorn the National Thanksgiving Turkey at annual pardon ceremony

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha name Popcorn the National Thanksgiving Turkey at annual pardon ceremony

Source: NY Daily News, 11-27-13

U.S. President Barack Obama gives the annual presidential pardon to the national Thanksgiving turkey at the White House in Washington November 27, 2013. John Burkel (L), Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, and the president's daughters Malia (R) and Sasha (C) are pictured watching the pardon. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ANIMALS)

GARY CAMERON/REUTERS

I now pronounce you… pardoned: U.S. President Barack Obama gives the annual presidential pardon to the national Thanksgiving turkey with daughers Sasha (left) and Malia (right).

First daughters Malia and Sasha were on hand for the tradition on National Thanksgiving Turkey Wednesday….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency November 27, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at Pardoning of the Thanksgiving Turkey

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Pardoning of the Thanksgiving Turkey

Source: WH, 11-27-13

U.S. President Barack Obama gives the annual presidential pardon to the national Thanksgiving turkey at the White House in Washington November 27, 2013. John Burkel (L), Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, and the president's daughters Malia (R) and Sasha (C) are pictured watching the pardon. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ANIMALS)

GARY CAMERON/REUTERS

President Barack Obama along with daughters, Malia and Sasha pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey during a ceremony at the White House’s North Portico, Nov. 27, 2013

North Portico

1:30 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody, and happy Thanksgiving.

The office of the presidency — the most powerful position in the world — brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities.  This is not one of them.  (Laughter.)  But the White House Turkey Pardon is a great tradition.  And I know Malia loves it — as does Sasha.

Generally speaking, Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey.  Especially at a house with two dogs.  So I salute our two guests of honor — Caramel and Popcorn — for their bravery. They came all the way from outside Badger, Minnesota to be with us.  They, like my Chief of Staff, are Vikings fans.  (Laughter.) I’m not sure that they know — (turkeys gobble) — uh-oh.  (Laughter.)  See.  I’m not sure they know that that my Bears are heading to Minnesota on Sunday, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m going to give them a break.  (Laughter.)

We are also excited to have students from Badger High School here.  (Applause.)  Where are you guys?  There they are, right there.  And finally, let me say thank you to John Burkel,  chairman of the National Turkey Federation.  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now, 80 turkeys on John’s farm competed for the chance to make it to the White House, and stay off the Thanksgiving table. It was, quite literally, the hunger games.  (Laughter.)  and then, after weeks of vocal practice and prepping for the cameras, the two tributes, Caramel and Popcorn went head-to-head together for America’s vote as top gobbler.

The competition was stiff, but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner — (applause) — proving that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics.  (Laughter.)   As for Caramel, he’s sticking around, and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign.  (Laughter.)
On a more serious note, later today, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and I will bring a couple less fortunate turkeys to a great organization that works to help out our neighbors here in D.C. who need it most.  And I want to thank Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania, for donating those dressed birds for the fifth year in a row.  This is a reminder that this is a season to not only be thankful for the incredible blessings that we have, but also to remember the neediest and generously serve those who are not as fortunate.

This is a quintessentially American holiday, and during this time we give thanks to our friends and our family, for citizens who show compassion to those in need, and for neighbors who help strangers they’ve never met.  We give thanks for the blessings of freedom and opportunity that previous generations worked so hard to secure for.  And we give thanks for the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform who serve our nation around the world.

For those of you who are watching, you keep us safe.  You make us proud, and you remind us of our own obligations to build on the work of our predecessors and leave something better for our own kids.

So on behalf of the Obama family, I want to wish everybody a very happy Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow, as we gather with our own friends and family, we’ll count ourselves lucky that there’s more to be thankful for than we can ever say, and more to be hopeful for than we can ever imagine.

And now, before these turkeys get away — with the power vested in me, I want to grant Popcorn a full reprieve.  Come on. (Laughter.)  Popcorn, you have a full reprieve from cranberry sauce and stuffing.  We wish you well.  And we’re going to give Carmel a break as well.

All right?  (Laughter.)  Congratulations, everybody.  (Applause.)   Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  See you, Popcorn. (Applause.)  Get out of the rain.  (Laughter.)

END
1:35 P.M. EST

RELATED LINKS

Full Text Obama Presidency November 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon — Pardons Cobbler, the National Thanksgiving Turkey

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Pardons Cobbler, the National Thanksgiving Turkey

Source: WH, 11-21-12

Watch the video

Today, President Obama pardoned Cobbler, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, in a ceremony at the White House. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, and the first time the American people cast their vote via the White House Facebook page to decide which of two turkeys would receive the honor.

Although Cobbler was selected for the title of National Thanksgiving Turkey, both he and his alternate, Gobbler, received a pardon. The two 19-week old, 40-pound turkeys were named by elementary school students Rockingham County, Virginia, where the turkeys were raised.

President Obama, the First Lady and daughters Malia and Sasha will be taking two not-so-lucky turkeys to a local food bank this afternoon, and he asked that “every American to do what they can to help families who are in need of a real Thanksgiving this year.”

Tomorrow, in the company of friends and loved ones, we will celebrate a uniquely American holiday.  And it’s a chance for us to spend time with the people we care about and to give thanks for the blessings that we enjoy; and to think about just how lucky we are to live in the greatest nation on Earth.

But it’s also a time to remember those who are less fortunate -– and this year, that’s particularly true for our neighbors in the Northeast who have lost their homes and their possessions, and even their loved ones to Hurricane Sandy.

He also wished a very happy Thanksgiving to the men and women in uniform who are away from their families this holiday. “But the reason they’re there is because they give thanks too for the extraordinary life that have here in the United States of America,” he said.

After the ceremony, the two turkeys spared the fate of becoming Thanksgiving dinner will travel to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. The National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon,” a special program through January 6.  After the holidays, the two birds will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon’s nationally recognized livestock facility.


For more information:

 

Remarks by the President at the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon

The Rose Garden

2:08 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, good afternoon, everybody.  (Turkey gobbles.)  (Laughter.)

They say that life is all about second chances.  And this November, I could not agree more.  (Laughter.)  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.  The American people have spoken, and these birds are moving forward.  (Turkey gobbles.)  (Laughter.)  I love this bird.  (Laughter.)

Now, I joke, but for the first time in our history, the winners of the White House Turkey Pardon were chosen through a highly competitive online vote.  And once again, Nate Silver completely nailed it.  (Laughter.)  The guy is amazing.  He predicted these guys would win.

I want to thank everyone who participated in this election.  Because of your votes, the only cobbler anyone’s eating this Thanksgiving will come with a side of ice cream.  And for that, our winning turkey can thank his stellar campaign team led by Steve Willardsen, who is the Chairman of the National Turkey Foundation and raised this beautiful bird at Miller Farm in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  So here’s Steve.  (Applause.)

And, as always, if for some reason Cobbler cannot fulfill his duties as the Official White House Turkey, Gobbler will be waiting in the wings.

From here, these two — (laughter) — from here these two lucky birds will be swept up in a whirlwind of fame and fortune that will ultimately lead them to Mount Vernon, where they will spend their twilight years in the storied home of George Washington.  And later today, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will be taking two turkeys who were not so lucky to a local food bank here in Washington, D.C.  I want to thank Jaindl Turkey Farms in Pennsylvania for donating these birds — or those birds — and I’d like to ask every American to do what they can to help families who are in need of a real Thanksgiving this year.

Tomorrow, in the company of friends and loved ones, we will celebrate a uniquely American holiday.  And it’s a chance for us to spend time with the people we care about and to give thanks for the blessings that we enjoy; and to think about just how lucky we are to live in the greatest nation on Earth.

But it’s also a time to remember those who are less fortunate -– and this year, that’s particularly true for our neighbors in the Northeast who have lost their homes and their possessions, and even their loved ones to Hurricane Sandy.

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

Countless stories of courage, and compassion, and resilience have emerged in the aftermath of the storm.  But one that comes to mind today is about a tree on Staten Island.  It’s a giant blue spruce that came crashing down in the front yard of Joseph Ingenito, whose home in New Dorp Beach flooded during the hurricane.  Today, if you go to Joseph’s street, you’ll see a lot of damage and debris scattered all over the block.  But you’ll also see the top of that tree, standing tall in front of his house, decorated with ornaments that survived the storm, along with anything else his neighbors could find including empty cups and surgical masks and safety goggles.  It’s a Christmas tree, and it’s there to remind the neighborhood that there will still be holidays to celebrate, and happy moments to share, and life will go on.  And we will rebuild.

And so tomorrow, we give thanks -– not only for the things that we have, or the people we love, but for the spirit that sees us through the toughest times, and holds us together as one American family, guided along our journey by the hope of a better day.

And I hope that over this holiday weekend, we’re also thinking about our extraordinary men and women overseas who are serving far away from home in harm’s way.  But the reason they’re there is because they give thanks too for the extraordinary life that have here in the United States of America.

So may God bless those brave men and women in uniform who are away from their families this holiday season.  May God bless the American people.  May you all have a very happy Thanksgiving.

And with that I think we are going to bestow the official pardon on — wait, which — is he Gobbler or Cobbler?  Cobbler.  Come on.  All right, I’ve got to give the special dispensation.  Congratulations, Cobbler.  You have a great life.

Everybody give Cobbler a big round of applause.

(The turkeys are pardoned.)

END
2:18 P.M. EST

Political Headlines November 21, 2012: President Barack Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-21-12

ABC News

President Obama “pardoned” the National Thanksgiving Turkey – and its designated backup — in the Rose Garden on Wednesday.

Cobbler and alternate Gobbler are each 19-week old, 40-pounders, raised at the farm of Craig and Nancy Miller, near Harrisonburg, Va., with the supervision of National Turkey Federation chairman Steve Willardsen, in partnership with the Virginia Poultry Federation.

The turkeys’ names were chosen by students from elementary schools in Rockingham County, Va….READ MORE

White House Recap November 19-25, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — Thankgiving at the White House & Turkey Pardon

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: NOVEMBER 19-25, 2011

West Wing Week

The President wrapped up an 8 day tour in the Asia Pacific region, signed legislation to help our veterans find jobs, urged Congress to cut payroll taxes, and pardoned two turkeys. That’s November 18th to November 24th or “Your Best You.”

West Wing Week

West Wing Week: 11/24/11 or “Your Best You”

Source: WH, 11-24-11

This week, the President wrapped up an 8 day tour demonstrating American leadership and opening up economic opportunity for America in the Asia Pacific region. Upon his return he signed legislation to help our veterans find jobs, traveled to New Hampshire to urge Congress to cut payroll taxes for workers and small businesses, and pardoned two turkeys. That’s November 18th to November 24th or “Your Best You.”

Full Text November 23, 2011: President Barack Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkeys Peace & Liberty

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Happy Thanksgiving!

President Obama Pardons Peace & Liberty (the Turkeys)

Source: WH, 11-23-11
President Obama Pardons Liberty

President Barack Obama, with daughters, Malia and Sasha, pardons ‘Liberty’, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, in a ceremony on the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 23, 2011. At left is National Turkey Federation Chairman Richard Huisinga. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

As promised, this morning, President Obama pardoned two more turkeys — Liberty and Peace. The ceremony was held on the North Portico of the White House, and the president received a bit of help of his daughters, Sasha and Malia.

This year’s turkeys are both 19-weeks old and weigh 45 pounds. They were raised by a group of students from Willmar High School in Minnesota.

To kick off the pardon, President Obama said:

Tomorrow is one of the best days of the year to be an American. It’s a day to count our blessings, spend time with the ones we love, and enjoy some good food and some great company. But it’s also one of the worst days of the year to be a turkey. They don’t have it so good.

The rare exception, of course, are the two birds who’ve joined me today. Now, is Peace here, or just Liberty? Just Liberty is here, but Peace is back here somewhere. Some of you may know that recently I’ve been taking a series of executive actions that don’t require Congressional approval. Well, here’s another one. We can’t wait to pardon these turkeys. Literally. Otherwise they’d end up next to the mashed potatoes and stuffing.

He also remarked on the special training provided to these birds for their big moment:

Now, I’m told that in order to prepare Liberty and Peace for their big day, the students exposed them to loud noises and flash bulbs so that they’d be ready to face the White House press corps. This is actually true. They also received the most important part of their media training, which involves learning how to gobble without really saying anything.

So Liberty is ready for his turn in the spotlight. And after he finishes a round of cable hits and a few Sunday shows, he’s going to retire to a life of leisure at Mount Vernon — the same place where George Washington spent his golden years.

Want to know more about turkey pardons? The White House Turkey Pardon definitive history.

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