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Obama pardons Ohio turkey named ‘Cheese’

2014_1126_WHturkeypardon President Barack Obama pardons national turkey “Cheese” at the White House today, as daughters Sasha and Malia look on. At left are National Turkey Federation Chairman Cole Cooper and his father, Gary Cooper. The Coopers raised this year’s national birds. (From White House video)


President Barack Obama today pardoned an Ohio-bred turkey named Cheese today in a ceremony in the grand foyer of the White House — snow and sleet prevented the ceremony from being held outdoors.

Referring to the criticism of his executive order on immigration, Obama said that pardoning the turkey was “within my powers,” even though he was sure that some people would refer to it as amnesty.

And reacting to a Washington Post story that questioned why presidents with their serious duties would take the time to pardon a bird that had committed no crime, Obama said that “with all the tough stuff” he has address every day, it was nice to be able to use the occasion to say “Happy Thanksgiving.”

The White House had chosen the names “Mac” and “Cheese” for the two turkeys that were raised by Cooper Farms in Ohio and presented to the president by the Coopers on behalf of the National Turkey Federation.

The White House asked the public to vote through Twitter on which bird should become the official national Thanksgiving turkey.

“Mac’s got a grand champion-style strut and his gobble has a country ring to it. Cheese is a feather-shaker with a rhythmic gobble that loves to cheese it up for the cameras,” the White House said on its website.

The public chose Cheese to be named what the White House called America’s “top turkey.” And although only Cheese was on display today, Obama also pardoned Mac at the 67th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, the White House said.

The two birds will be transported today to Morven Park’s “Turkey Hill,” an historic turkey farm located at the home of former Virginia Gov, Westmoreland Davis in Leesburg, Va., that is open to the public.

Last year the national turkeys went to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, through the holidays, but Morven Park has better facilities to house them.

Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pa., presented the first family with two dressed turkeys that will be donated to a local area food bank.

Washington Post — Another presidential turkey pardoning, another ‘The Hunger Games’
National Journal — Inside the Lush Lifestyle the National Thanksgiving Turkeys Lead Before They’re Pardoned
Presidential Turkeys Sing with Kenny Chesney (Video)