Obama to pardon Thanksgiving turkey

MATTHEW DALY
November 21, 2012
President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia, on the East Lawn of the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just back from Asia, President Barack Obama is pardoning two turkeys in an annual Thanksgiving rite.

Cobbler, the newly designated national turkey, and his alternate, Gobbler, are getting a reprieve.

Both are 19-week-old, 40-pound turkeys from Virginia. Their names were selected from submissions by elementary school students in Rockingham County, Va., where the birds were raised.

For the first time this year, the American public had a say in which bird would become the national Thanksgiving turkey. They were asked to cast their votes on the White House Facebook page.

The tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey at the White House started with President John F. Kennedy in 1963.