President Obama Pardons His Final Turkey -- with 'Dad Jokes,' Of Course
Two final turkeys have been absolved of their Thanksgiving duties by President Barack Obama.
POTUS participated in his last turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House, Wednesday.
The President gave ceremonial freedom to Tater and Tot from the Rose Garden, flanked by his nephews Aaron, 4, and Austin Robinson, 6, rather than daughters Sasha, 15, and Malia Obama, 18. Obama joked that the girls “couldn’t take” his “dad jokes” anymore, and that, unlike his daughters, the Robinson boys “have not yet been turned cynical by Washington.”
“This is the last time I’m doing this, so we’re not leaving any room for leftovers,” Obama joked of his silly puns, adding seriously, “On this Thanksgiving, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the American people for the trust that you’ve placed in me.”
As decided by an online poll, Tot received the official title of the National Thanksgiving Turkey, but Tater (of the “vice-turkey,” Obama joked: “We’re working on getting him a pair of aviator glasses”) will still join his fellow bird at Virginia Tech’s Gobbler’s Rest exhibit in Blacksburg, Virginia. There, both turkeys will be cared for by veterinarians and students of the university’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department, according to the White House.
Both males, the birds are 18-weeks-old and stand at just over 3-feet tall. While Tater weighs in at 40 pounds, 2 ounces, Tot is a little smaller at 39 pounds, 8 ounces. They were raised in Northwest Iowa and named by schoolchildren in the state.
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The turkey pardon is a tradition that dates back decades. Many believe the President Abraham Lincoln was the first commander in chief to take part, sparing a Christmas turkey in 1863 that eventually became his son’s pet, the New York Times reported.
For the past 69 years, the President has received a turkey from the National Turkey Federation.
The clemency festivities didn’t really become official, however, until 1989, when then-President George H.W. Bush announced that a gifted turkey “had been granted a presidential pardon.”