President Obama and National Turkey Federation chairman Jihad Douglas applaud at the pardoning of "Abe," the National Turkey, or as Obama dubbed it, "TOTUS," the Turkey of the United States.
National Turkey Federation delivers country music-lovin' turkeys to White House
Their names are "Honest" and "Abe," virtually identical in all sorts of turkey measurements - who knew turkey wingspans can reach six feet?
By a Twitter poll, Abe won the coveted title of National Thanksgiving Turkey.
In a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House, President Obama pardoned Abe from becoming the main course at the White House Thanksgiving feast. In reality, both Honest, as the alternate, and Abe will live out their days at Morven Park's Turkey Hill in Leesburg, Va.
The presentation of the National Turkey to the U.S. president was started many years ago and is still maintained by the National Turkey Federation. The pardoning aspect began with President George H.W. Bush in 1989. NTF chairman Jihad Douglas of Aviagen Turkeys, a West Virginia company, presented Abe and Honest to President Obama.
The chief executive was in a jovial mood, as were Sasha and Malia. He thanked the first daughters "for once again standing here with me during the turkey pardon. They do this solely because it makes me feel good, not because they actually think this is something that I should be doing."
"Abe is now a free bird, he is TOTUS - Turkey of the United States," Obama joked, as Sasha and Malia giggled alongside him.
The president didn't stop. He noted that this was his seventh turkey pardoning. "Time flies, even if turkeys don't." Both girls laughed. "That was a good one," one of them said.
During the pardoning, Abe gobbled loudly to the delight of all, perhaps in his head to the country song "Act Naturally," by Buck Owens, which NTF noted is among the birds' favorites. The other is "Boot Scootin' Boogie," by Brooks & Dunn.
The Obama family had plans later to serve turkey dinners to homeless veterans in the nation's capital. Obama noted that it is a top priority of his administration to bring about "the reality of zero homelessness for veterans."
Honest and Abe were raised at Foster Farms' Presidential Turkey Ranch near Modesto, Calif., under Douglas's direction. A group of local elementary students helped select the two birds.
As has become the practice, they were flown to Washington and spent the night before the pardoning in high-class digs at the Willard Hotel, just a couple of blocks from the White House.
LIBRARY NOTICE: TRENDS is off for the Thanksgiving holiday. There is no issue this week. We will be back next week. Have a terrific Thanksgiving from Association TRENDS!