November 20th, 2007
02:22 PM ET
13 years ago

Bush pardons two turkeys

President Bush spared "May" and "Flower" Tuesday morning.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Adhering to a tradition now entering its 60th year, President Bush on Tuesday delivered a full presidential pardon to the national Thanksgiving turkey in the Rose Garden at the White House.

He also announced the names of the bird and its alternate, which were chosen by people who voted online. They will officially be called May and Flower, the president said.

"That's certainly better than the names the vice president suggested: Lunch and Dinner," Bush joked.

On a more serious note, the president reminded Americans they have much to be thankful for this holiday season.

"This Thanksgiving we are grateful for a harvest big enough to feed us all and millions more. We're grateful for citizens who reach out to those who struggle, from neighbors in need to the strangers they've never met," he said.

"We're grateful for working Americans, who've given us the longest period of uninterrupted job creation on record and a prosperity that lifts our citizens.

"And we're grateful for one blessing in particular: the men and women of the United States military. They've worn proudly the uniform of our country. They have offered their lives in our defense, and each year thousands more volunteer to join their noble ranks and to keep us safe.

"And so on this Thanksgiving, we keep their families and their loved ones in our prayers and in our thoughts," Bush said.

The turkeys chosen for this year's honor came from a farm in Dubois, Ind., according to the White House Web site, and were raised under the direction of National Turkey Federation Chairman Ted Seger.

After the Rose Garden ceremony, the turkeys will be flown first-class to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where they will be the grand marshals of the Disney Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Web site said.

Afterward, they'll live at Mickey's Country House in Magic Kingdom Park.

"May they live the rest of their lives in blissful gobbling and may all Americans enjoy a holiday filled with love and peace," the president said.

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. Lisa, Dallas TX

    But of course the ultimate turkey is George Bush himself. Hopefully, when the time comes, God won't pardon that old bird.

    November 20, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Michael, Daytona Beach

    1) The Truman library has not found one shred of evidence that Pres. Truman ever pardoned a turkey, in fact saying instead that they were headed for the dinner table.
    2) The whole thing is kinda lame... I won't eat ya'll, but that one over there looks moist- more substitution than pardon.
    3) The turkeys fly first class! Is disney footing that bill?
    4)I think the real story is that Bush is headed on yet another week of vacation and this turkey business seems to detract from that.
    For the record, I'm not just here to "Bush bash" as I'm not particularly fond of any party rushing off to holiday while our men and women spend their 4th Thanksgiving in a godless desert while "we" are still trying to figure out exactly what to do. This year I'm especially thankful for them and continue to pray for their safe return...

    November 20, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. melissa c, canton, oh.

    LOL ! When Bush was petting the turkey, it was hilarious how the turkey was looking at him as if to say, "look buddy, this is uncomfortable for me ,too."

    November 20, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Christian, Tampa FL

    May and Flower? That's dumb.

    November 20, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. clay c. , baltimore md.

    "Each year, the President of the United States grants an official pardon to a Thanksgiving turkey presented to the White House by the Nat'l Turkey Federation. The tradition dates back to 1947, when Pres. Truman issued the first turkey pardon. It is said he got the idea from Abe Lincoln who refused to kill a holiday turkey after his son Tad became attached to it. The traditional ceremony is held on the Rose Garden a day or two before Thanksgiving. A second bird is chosen as a runner-up in case the first turkey can't go on. After being pardoned, the turkey is sent to Kidwell Farms, a petting zoo at Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Va."

    from "American Tradition Turkey Talk"

    November 20, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Neill C., Montgomery, Al

    The only turkeys that need a pardon are Sandy Burglar and Bill Clinton.

    November 20, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Phil, San Jose, CA

    Hey Turkey Republican, I organized a canned food drive at the college I'm the Director of Education for and my wife and I contribute clothes, food, cars, and money to a wide variety of charities year around. So don't assume that I'm your stereotypical liberal who expects the government to solve all the problems. You know what happens when we assume.

    November 20, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Kristy Sanborn

    I like President Bush's names for the two turkeys. Its better than neigbors of mine named three of theirs one year I gave them, being 'Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years'
    I have to wonder though if Reid and the senator 'mr. lonely', as cnn named the senator today who is keeping guard on things this thanksgiving holiday because they are so afraid the President would use his presidential rights if needed.
    Senator 'lonely' my foot, I bet he's a richer senator now, what do you think they paid him to give up thanksgiving and stand guard?
    Seriously, I would bet quite a bit of money, truth be known. I had to laugh when CNN printed that today, "Mr. Lonely" staying behind to guard, made me think theres a song about Mr. Lonely, by Bobbie Vinton already, so he can't use that! Whoever cnn said the senator is Reid had stay behind, I didn't catch his name. Doesn't matter, the ones who need to know, do, IU am sure one of his senator guards will take mr. lonely a hot plate of turkey or a bag full of money.

    November 20, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Kristy Sanborn

    Correction, that is "I am sure", I don't know how the 'U' got in there. Wishing everyone a happy thanksgiving.

    November 20, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Dee, UK

    Chuck, Jax, FL – you need to follow your own advice man. Why are you still attacking Mr. Clinton?

    November 20, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. Allen, Redlands CA

    Are their names Karl Rove and Dick Cheney?

    November 20, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Jed in Texas

    Which candidate will most likely Pardon Bush and Cheney???

    November 20, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. G. Rasputin, Lakeland FL

    "May they live the rest of their lives in blissful gobbling and may all Americans enjoy a holiday filled with love and peace," the president said.

    Again, the president shows how deeply superficial and irrelevant is his "thinking." Instead of mouthing empty platitudes about our service people and veterans, how about giving them some half-way decent medical care and some compassion for the sacrifices they've made for you and your gang of rancid liars, Sir?

    November 20, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    You liberals are so witty and cool! I got one too....ready? How bout naming the turkeys "Marc" and "Rich"? I can't wait to see how you guys bash the president on Christmas, too....

    November 20, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. Rob H, Boston, MA

    Why were they pardoned, so Cheney can shoot them while they're trapped in a cage?

    November 20, 2007 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  16. Several Republicans, Afew Democrats


    November 20, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  17. Sue in Michigan

    What's really sad here is that there are real articles about the leaks in this White House that have NO COMMENTS, and yet here you all are, commenting on a stupid joke.
    (And now me, but I DID leave comments on the other ones first.)

    November 20, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  18. ImpeachBush, Silver City NM

    "This Thanksgiving we are grateful for a harvest big enough to feed us all and millions more. We're grateful for citizens who reach out to those who struggle, from neighbors in need to the strangers they've never met," he said.

    I bet you're greatful! Just goes to show how much of an idiot this piece of trash is. The main ones rejoicing this harvest are the corporations. They're jumping with joy and giving thanks for their record profits. Bush is just their prostitute that they can use anytime they want.

    How about 35 million Americans that went hungry at some point this year? Of course this idiot is correct in one thing. Only the citizens will help because it sure won't be the Greedy Old Party. You know, the compossionate conservatives, the family values party, the Christian party, the fiscally responsible party, etc., etc.

    November 20, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. Dur, Huntington, WV

    p.s. Who will the liberals and Code Stink direct their angst at if there's a Democrat in the White House? They won't know who to be mad at…

    Posted By steve feldt, arlington va. : November 20, 2007 3:18 pm

    Not true, unless you and your ilk plan to leave the planet. (Please, oh please)

    November 21, 2007 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  20. Max, Boston, MA

    For those who are uptight about the president being criticized around Thanksgiving, did you ever take holidays off from criticizing liberals?

    Bush is heavily criticized because his actions as president are largely indefensible. As much as I love one-word political slurs to superficially characterize someone you disagree with, there's nothing "kooky" about disliking a president - especially one as unethical as this one.

    November 21, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. blessed! ny ny

    turkeys are offended, you have been comparing them to the two-I wouldn´t know how to call them-in the white house, not even a weasel would like that comparison, perhaps $%&"/& and ?&%^» would be more appropriate. HAPPY DAY TO ALL OF YOU.

    November 21, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Jack, Fort Myers, FL

    Who the heck are Marc and Rich...? Man some really lef field right winngers out there! Please send a complete thought so someone in EITHER camp knows what the heck you're talking about! You don't thing there ar rich Democrats? Mabye you don't think any Democrats own business? Or, are you just nuts.

    November 21, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. Jack, Fort Myers, FL

    Hunger, poverty. The GOP line is to "bring youself up by the bootstraps". The management of domestic problems has been "trust capitalism" everything will be alright. isn't alright. The capitalists are now creating jobs in other lands (and do not give a whimper for the American jobs lost). The only reason the Democrats are leading right now is because–now, finally, "white collar" jobs are also being lost to foreign lands. Today...just getting a college education, and perhaps graduate education, is STILL not enought to ensure your future. How about this...raise the standard of living–worldwide–so our CEO's won't continue earning obscene aligning and exporting elements of business to foreign lands. Perhaps I missed the MEMO but I haven't even seen this issue addressed by ANY of the GOP candidates. Hmmmmmm

    November 21, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. Mark Murray UT

    Is this not the stupidest presidential tradition of them all?

    November 21, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. James, Indio CA

    I'm no Bush fan, but I did see the footage. Bush actually came off kind of humorous and likeable here. Nothing wrong with this tradition, and there's no reason to pile on Bush here with the one-liners. And the sound-bite of Bush saying "gobble, gobble" that one year always cracks me up.

    But, yes, free those two Border Patrol agents. And vote Obama as well. Peace.

    November 21, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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