November 27th, 2013
01:33 PM ET
11 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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    It might be because Popcorn likes Beyonce.

    November 27, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. m123

    What a goofy tradition
    These birds are raised for slaughter and don't last long after the pardon
    But it "feels" good
    Better to slaughter the bird and donate it to charity

    November 27, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Mary

    now can we get a pardon from Obamacare

    November 27, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. citizenUSA

    Should'a been the other way around.

    November 27, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Jason Volder

    The article neglects to mention the ultimate cause of death of the pardoneds.

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

    I'll bet he apologized to it as well!

    One turkey to another!

    November 27, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. wendel

    well it figures the stupid repo trolls have to make dumb comments even about pardoning turkeys a silly but long tradition. One that is meant to make people smile. Lighten up it's thanksgiving and I for one am thankful to live in this great country

    November 27, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Martin

    If I was that turkey I would be watching out for drones flying overhead from now on...

    November 27, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Dave

    When did he change his name to Popcorn?

    November 27, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. citizenUSA

    Looks like Obama is saying, "you are now, a chicken!

    November 27, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Donna

    I still think they should have named it Obamacare. Sure fits the mood of the country at the moment.

    November 27, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Sam

    I am going to buy a Popcorn Machine... in fact costco is having one on sale this black friday... haha

    November 27, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. TONE

    @ wendel
    Right wing idiots had to say something negative, and it doesn't matter what the President is doing. They are predictable,and if you respond you bring yourself down to their level.What a bunch of goats.

    November 27, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. John

    This has got to be one of our most ridiculous traditions as a nation. Can we please end this stupidity?

    November 27, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. hawkechik

    I think they should start having heritage turkeys. I'm tired of these Broad Breasted Whites, parden a Royal Palm or a Bourbon or something!

    November 27, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Cuthbert Donkledingle

    That bird should think twice about trusting the President to keep his promise of a pardon!

    November 27, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. current state of the union

    Popcorn and caramel, add peanuts and you've got the gop ideologies, crackerjack.

    November 27, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. just saying

    a word of advice mr. popcorn... don't believe anything that guy says. especially if he ends the statement with 'period'. all of america learned that the hard way. just saying, if you get a chance, make a run for it!

    November 27, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Woman In California

    They sure are cute but I must admit, they would probably taste good on the dinner table.

    @ wendel
    Well said.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Time for me to start preparing the huge feast I have been blessed to receive.

    Take care everyone..

    November 27, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. current state of the union

    Donna, why so snarky sweetie? Did the bad man do something you dont like, aahhh, you just can't let anyone enjoy themselves, you've revealed more than you know honey, your one sad pos

    November 27, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. jp

    Hey – it's all in fun – can't anyone just lighten up at this time of year? Be glad for what you have. Things could be much worse.

    November 27, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Ol' Yeller

    Man, the conservative attempts at humor really take me back.... to the third grade.
    No wonder they are so bitter and angry, they don't know how to make a joke or even understand the intricasies of humor as it relates to real life.
    "... watching out for drones...", really? Comparing Obama to a turkey, because the article is about turkeys... WOW! how original and hilarious.
    This may be why liberals have Bill Maher and his numerous interesting guests on a pay channel, and the republicants have a fat know-it-all talking to what is commonly referred to as 'dittoheads' into what amounts to a golden pe n is on the a.m. radio. Now THAT'S entertainment!
    If you are easily entertained....

    November 27, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. Squealy

    Yeah, yeah, we know . . . Obama's a turkey, and Obamacare blah blah blah. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, too.

    November 27, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    Right-wingers are actually using THIS article to try and make derogatory comments about President Obama? Whatever.

    November 27, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. 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.

    November 27, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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