November 21st, 2012
02:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Cobbler and Gobbler get their White House moment

(CNN) – President Barack Obama took on the annual tradition of pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Wednesday, with Cobbler the turkey being the lucky bird.

"The only cobbler anyone's eating this Thanksgiving will come with a side of ice cream," the president said in the Rose Garden at the White House.

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This year the choice was between Cobbler and Gobbler, two 19-week-old, 40 pound birds. Elementary school students in Rockingham County, Virginia-the native area of the turkeys-chose the names.

While one of the turkeys is recognized as the National Thanksgiving Turkey–chosen for the first time by the American public through an online contest this year–the president traditionally pardons both turkeys, one serving as an alternate.

"If for some reason Cobbler cannot fulfill his duties as the official White House Turkey, Gobbler will be waiting in the wings," Obama said.

With the turkey gobbling away nearby, Obama teased about new beginnings.

"They say that life is all about second chances, and this November I could not agree more," he said, joking about his re-election. "So in the spirit of the season, I have one more gift to give and it goes to a pair of turkeys."

Following the pardoning, the turkeys will be taken to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, where the winning turkey will be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." They'll stay on the property after the holidays.

The birds grew up on a farm near Harrisonburg, Virginia under National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen's supervision.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the turkey presentation.

In his remarks, Obama also thanked the troops overseas and asked Americans to remember the victims of Superstorm Sandy, which killed dozens in the U.S. and wreaked major devastation across the Northeast last month.

Concluding his comments, the president gave one final blessing to the turkey.

"You are hereby pardoned. Congratulations, Cobbler," the president said. "You'll have a great life."

Filed under: President Obama • White House
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F

    If the president pardons the turkey, does this mean that the Fox foreign owned media conspiracy crowd will say that the president apologized?

    November 21, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Now you figure it out?

    They will feed more people if they are kept alive until Christmas... good plan.

    November 21, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Raymond Sangl

    It seems to me the country has enough to worry about rather than to pardon a turkey. how much tax payers money goes for this just plain stupid.

    November 21, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. johnquepublique

    Hmmmmmm.... a pardon....sorta' like AG Holder for the "Fast and Furious" snafu???

    November 21, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Neko Shousui

    Sadly, upon learning that the turkeys were of a conservative ilk, he took their food bowls away and gave them to some birds of lesser mass, stating that they did not earn that food, that they had the food because of someone else. He also took his pardon away, as he, despite what he says, does not want to work with any conservative.

    November 21, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. smartaz

    I'm sure they will go on and be productive members of society.

    November 21, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    If MSNBC is "must see" TV, does that make Fox News "not see" TV?

    November 21, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. ST

    @Raymond Sangl

    It seems to me the country has enough to worry about rather than to pardon a turkey. how much tax payers money goes for this just plain stupid.
    It is not stupidity it is a tradition and must be done, the way we have the tradition of celebrating on Christmas day. It doesn't mean Jesus is born every year or we don't have anything to do on that particular day!!!

    November 21, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. LoreleiB

    For goodness sakes, people! This is a 65 year old tradition! Lay off all the political nonsense and just try to be civil for just one day. This isn't a political issue it is just a moment of frivolity. Just laugh and move on.

    November 21, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. joe

    some people would like to take traditions and turn them into political statements. Grow up it only takes a few minutes does not keep the country from running. Get over it and enjoy Thanksgiving.

    November 21, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Tom

    @Raymond Sangl

    It seems to me the country has enough to worry about rather than to pardon a turkey. how much tax payers money goes for this just plain stupid.
    Almost as stupid as getting heated over a turkey article? They do have a lot to worry about. But it's a lighthearted annual tradition. Besides the turkey's room and board, I'm sure it doesn't cost the taxpayers much. The media blows it out of proportion and makes it look like expensive/important. The real problem is that the nonsense is the #3 story on Google News.

    November 21, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Dave

    I followed the President's lead and pardoned the turkey. I'm having roast LAMB!

    November 21, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. adam

    Why cant something this simple and full of tradition be just for fun? Why do so many have to make it political or what have you? Grow up!!!

    November 21, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. tammyk tammy

    Save a turkey ... ham it up with a Greedy Old Pig instead!

    November 21, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Jeff from Columbus

    This has to be one of the stupidest traditions we have in this country. I'm sure every President, including Obama, says, "Really? I have to go out and pardon a TURKEY"?

    November 22, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Oscar Pitchfork

    The only thing I see dangerous here is when a simple, good-natured, family -oriented ceremony like this brings out all the nut-case-trollers who think they have an opinion (but it's a stupid one), when they think they're making a point(when they're only pointing out their own idiocy) and when they think they really have something to say (when they should really just shut up) and listen to the real adults for a year or so, before they try thinking again.

    November 22, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Larry L

    @Raymond Sangl

    It seems to me the country has enough to worry about rather than to pardon a turkey. how much tax payers money goes for this just plain stupid.
    I'll bet you're a bunch of fun on holidays... Life is short... lighten up.

    November 22, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Pander Bear

    Obvious Obama is soft on Turkeys! We need a Watergate like investigation to find out when he knew the Turkeys were being pardoned and why both were pardoned. Thank goodness we have brave conservatives like John McCain and Lindsey Graham to conduct this bogus witch hunt, er, pursuit of justice.

    November 22, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Johnsay

    Forget the turkeys, how about pardoning some of the millions of casualties from the war on drugs!

    November 22, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Bill Richardson

    OOOHHHH, THAT turkey. I thought the article was about Holder, Rice, the terrorists that attacked our embassy, you know, THOSE turkeys.

    November 22, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. DJESQ

    Gobble Gobble

    You Own It !

    As an Independent, I say, "a pox on both your houses."

    Still, my generation obviously did not teach American History to the present generation of voters, for it appears they did not understand the US was hanging on to solvency by its fingertips before the election ...
    ... the kids that voted simply decided to let go ... thus, we fall ... there will be no rescue ... no net to catch us as we plummet into the abyss ... but the euphoria, the thrill of the fall will be exhilerating ...

    Children – You Own It !

    November 22, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. mithra

    Barack really should not have let the turkeys in congress off so lightly!

    November 22, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |