By MATTHEW DALY
President Barack Obama pardoned two turkeys in an annual Thanksgiving rite on Wednesday, saying he wanted to offer the birds a second chance.
Cobbler, the newly designated national turkey, and his alternate, Gobbler, received a reprieve.
Obama noted that Cobbler and Gobbler were selected by the American people, who cast their votes for the national Thanksgiving turkey on the White House Facebook page.
Accompanied by daughters Sasha and Malia, Obama waved his hand over Cobbler in a vaguely religious “dispensation,” then laughed as the bird gobbled loudly. Obama and Sasha petted the turkey. Malia did not.
The 19-week-old, 40-pound turkeys are from Rockingham County, Va. They will live at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, along with last year’s birds, Liberty and Peace.
Thanks to the American people, “the only cobbler anyone’s eating this Thanksgiving will come with a side of ice cream,” Obama said.
On a more serious note, Obama asked Americans to remember those in the Northeast who lost their homes, possessions and loved ones to Superstorm Sandy. Obama, who toured New York and New Jersey after the storm, said he has seen much destruction, “but I have yet to find a broken spirit.”
The tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey at the White House started with President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
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