November 27th, 2013
01:33 PM ET
8 months ago

Obama pardons Popcorn the turkey

Washington (CNN) – After an online vote that included a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram campaign, a turkey named Popcorn won a presidential reprieve from the Thanksgiving table Wednesday.

In a White House ceremony, President Barack Obama joined by daughters Sasha and Malia, joked that, "Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey. Especially at a house with two dogs. So I salute our two guests of honor, Caramel and Popcorn for their bravery."

Obama said 80 turkeys went head to head for the chance to make it to the White House. "It was quite literally 'The Hunger Games,'” the President said.

"And then after weeks of vocal practice and prepping for the cameras, the two turkeys, Caramel and Popcorn, went head to head together for America's vote as top gobbler,” Obama said.

"The competition was stiff but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner."

Related: Where pardoned turkeys go to die

Popcorn, who was raised in Minnesota, seemed unfazed by his newfound notoriety. Before the President came out to make the announcement, the fluffed up turkey strutted about the North Portico of the White House looking like he owned the place. He occasionally glanced around at the gathered crowd of journalists, photographers and invited guests, as his handlers kept shooing him back over to the spot where he would eventually greet the President.

The ceremony was moved from the Rose Garden to the North Portico of the White House which faces Lafayette Park, due to the storm blasting the East Coast. The temperature was a brisk 39 degrees and rain came pelting down on the gathered crowd.

After the President awarded the reprieve, he joked that this event proved, "that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics. As for Caramel, he's sticking around and he's already busy raising money for his next campaign."

If you're worried about Caramel's fate - don't be.

The White House says both birds will be spared and following the event, they will be driven to George Washington's home, Mount Vernon, where they will spend Christmas and New Year's. In January the pair will be moved to their permanent home at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia to live out their days.

The White House says that both Caramel and Popcorn are "20-week old, approximately 38-pound turkeys," and the turkey's names were, "chosen from submissions from elementary schools in Roseau County, Minnesota, where the turkeys were raised."


Filed under: President Obama • White House
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. guest2

    i wish he would stop pardoning illegal aliens

    November 27, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Scott

    Obama also pardons Obamacare, another turkey

    November 27, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Chuck

    He should have Pardoned hiimself for Thanksgiving,

    November 27, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    TexanWarrior

    Once, just once, I would like to see a President kill and eat the turkey. Even call for the chef and give the orders for tonight's dinner with the press still there.

    I was sure Bush would do it, but he sussed out on it.
    -----------------------------–
    The Bush's ate gourmet food, almost exclusively. Try a web search for the remarks Laura Bush made about the items they found in the White House stores when they first moved in, back in 2001. She barely stopped short of accusing the Clintons of eating vittles. Laura was appalled by the rib-eyes, most especially. She complained that there was no filet mignon. No caviar. Cheap wines. Said that the Clintons ate like backwoods hicks, or something along those lines.

    November 27, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Jake

    I was a little disappointed with CBS This Morning...

    The lady that does the anchoring on that show was talking about the turkey pardoning..and she said in her opinion this tradition was one of the silliest things Presidents do.

    Come on...you can have your politics and hatred or love for Obama...but this is a tradition that I enjoy watching.

    Lighten up CBS...

    November 27, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Sonia

    Cute story! I love these light-hearted stories. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

    November 27, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Right wingers love Thanksgiving. It's their day to celebrate what they truly stand for: killing off indigenous people. They call it Thanksgiving. I call their holiday, Hellday! "The chinamen built the railroad, the Indian saved the Pilgrim, and in return the Pilgrim killed him."

    November 27, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Stating the Obvious

    ahhhh.... da poor poor lefties whining about others poking fun at the turkeys, Obama and Obamacare. boo hoo hoo me so sad your feelings hurt.... boo hoo hoo hahahahahaha!!!

    It is just low hanging fruit that is too easy to pass up... Obama, obamacare, turkeys.... just go together naturally.

    November 27, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. 09RoadKing

    Who is going to pardon O"Bama the turkey ???

    November 27, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Len

    Right wing racists, haters etc. This president has saved little people like you.......you should enlist in the army and serve your country and we will see how real tough you folks are!

    November 27, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    Apparently the righties can't pardon this article from their attempts at humor.

    November 27, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. vittoriosramblings

    obama pardoned these turkeys but the guy who made the movie that alledgedly started ben ghazi is still in prison...

    November 27, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Allow me to Translate

    Len
    Right wing racists, haters etc. This president has saved little people like you.......you should enlist in the army and serve your country and we will see how real tough you folks are!
    --–

    blah, blah, blah, blather, froth, blather, froth, froth, blah, blah, blah, period. Obama supporters are just SO intelligent!

    November 27, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. Katrina Wogoman

    I have always enjoyed the pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey. I thought it was fun watching it on the news when I was a little girl and now as an adult it still makes me giggle. Congrats, Popcorn and Caramel LOL

    November 27, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Data Driven

    Rudy,

    "Laura was appalled by the rib-eyes"

    Wow, that's some high-class snobbery. Even I can get sniffy about "prime" rib, but rib-eye is a perfectly acceptable cut of beef.

    November 27, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Bob

    Mista Turkey! He's gonna get eat.

    November 27, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Patrick Portland

    Not convinced that Popcorn is the real turkey in the room. Look in the mirror Bozo.

    November 27, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Stephen

    See who was missing from the photo? Michelle and Caramel. No coincidence either. Michelle was gobbling down Caramel the other turkey.

    November 27, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -Allow me to Translate

    Len
    Right wing racists, haters etc. This president has saved little people like you.......you should enlist in the army and serve your country and we will see how real tough you folks are!
    ––

    blah, blah, blah, blather, froth, blather, froth, froth, blah, blah, blah, period. Obama supporters are just SO intelligent!
    ****************
    Certainly when compared to you, yes we are.

    November 27, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. t2vodka

    Hahaha, congrats you guys, hope you have happy days in your new home :)

    November 27, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Len

    Allow me to Translate,

    And what is your point. Have you served your country? Did he not get us out of Iraq and doing the same in Afgan.....Working with our allies to allow diplomacy to work instead of bomb, bomb and kill. Your answer has really shown your intelligence.

    November 27, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. NotYoDaddy

    Too bad he refuses to pardon US from the ACA

    November 27, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. David

    When he says "Pardon me"-he is pardening a Turkey!

    November 27, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Johnp40

    Nice photo-op. But who will pardon Obama ?

    November 27, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
1 2