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Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkeys

Cobbler and Gobbler get a reprieve

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, center, and Malia, right, carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.

    President Barack Obama pardoned two turkeys at the White House Wednesday, in an annual Thanksgiving rite.

    Cobbler, the newly designated national turkey, and his alternate, Gobbler, both scored a reprieve.

    "The American people have spoken, and these birds are moving forward," Obama said.

    Cobbler and Gobbler are both 19 weeks old and weighs 40 pounds. Their names were selected from submissions by elementary school students in Rockingham County, Va., where the birds were raised.

    For the first time this year, the American public had a say in which bird would become the national Thanksgiving turkey. They were asked to cast their votes on the White House Facebook page. As of Wednesday afternoon, Cobbler's page had 2,777 "likes" and Gobbler's page had 2,547 "likes."

    "Because of your votes, the only cobbler anyone is eating this thanksgiving will come with a side of ice cream," Obama joked.

    Obama also invoked New York Times writer Nate Silver, whose analysis of polls had correctly forecast the president's re-election.

    "Once again Nate Silver nailed it," Obama joked of Cobbler's win.

    The birds are set to "spend the their twilight years," as the president put it, at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, Today.com reported.

    The tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey at the White House started with President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

    It's not without its controversy. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had called for the end of the tradition because it mocked “the mass slaughter of some 46 million gentle, intelligent birds,” Today.com reported.