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Obama pardons turkeys as part of annual rite

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, second from left, and Malia, right, carried out the Thanksgiving tradition of saving the national turkey, Popcorn, from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House in Washington today as John Burkel, current chairman of the National Turkey Federation in Badger, Minn. looked on.
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WASHINGTON » President Barack Obama has spared two turkeys from the brine and the oven, fulfilling the annual tradition of a presidential pardon for a couple of lucky birds ahead of Thanksgiving Day.

Obama pardoned Popcorn, who shared the stage with the president on the North Portico of the White House on a cold drizzly day. An alternate turkey, named Caramel, also received a pardon, though it did not have the benefit of a face-to-beak meeting with the president.

Obama said presidents have many awesome and solemn responsibilities. "This is not one of them," he says.

Popcorn and Caramel are 38-pound turkeys from Badger , Minn.

The turkeys will be on display at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens through Jan. 6.

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