President Obama pardoned Cobbler and his alternate Gobbler, both 19-week old, 40-pound turkeys. Cobbler was named the National Thanksgiving Turkey via a vote on the White House Facebook page.
The life of the alternate Gobbler was also spared, although Gobbler was not name the National Thanksgiving Turkey.
The pardoning ceremony was held in the Rose Garden at the White House at which the President spoke. Referring to his recent reelection, the President said, “They say that life is all about second chances. And this November, I could not agree more.”
“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,” as the turkey gobbles. “I love this bird.”
“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,” the President said. Making reference to Nate Silver of the New York Times, who accurately predicted every state in the election, President Obama joked, “And once again, Nate Silver completely nailed it. The guy is amazing. He predicted these guys would win.”
In the light-hearted spirit, the president added, “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.”
He then turned serious as he discussed the tragedy of Hurricane Sandy, “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,” he said.
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday.
The names of the turkeys were chosen from submissions from elementary schools in Rockingham County, Virginia, where the turkeys were raised. Many of the submissions came from schools in agriculture-producing areas, where students have the chance to learn about the importance of agriculture to the world food supply and to our local economies.
However, President Obama, the First Lady and daughters Malia and Sasha will be taking two not-so-lucky turkeys to a local food bank and President Obama 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 pardoning, the turkeys were driven 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 National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon’s nationally recognized livestock facility.
Both birds were raised on the farm of Craig and Nancy Miller, near Harrisonburg, Virginia, under National Turkey Federation Chairman, Steve Willardsen’s supervision and in partnership with the Virginia Poultry Federation. Dr. Bob Evans, also of Cargill, handled the turkey during the Rose Garden ceremony.
Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania, gave President Obama’s family two dressed turkeys that will be donated to a local area food bank.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books