This turkey’s very thank­ful!

At the usu­ally som­bre White House, a fun Amer­i­can tra­di­tion was up­held.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING - By JIM KUHNHENN

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama spared two tur­keys from the oven last Wed­nes­day, ful­fill­ing the an­nual tra­di­tion of a pres­i­den­tial par­don for a cou­ple of lucky birds ahead of the Amer­i­can har­vest hol­i­day of Thanks­giv­ing Day on Thurs­day.

Obama par­doned Pop­corn, who shared the stage with the pres­i­dent on the North Por­tico of the White House on a cold, driz­zly day. An al­ter­nate turkey, named Caramel, also re­ceived a par­don, though it did not have the ben­e­fit of a face-to-beak meet­ing with the pres­i­dent.

“The of­fice of the pres­i­dency, the most pow­er­ful po­si­tion in the world, brings with it many awe­some and solemn re­spon­si­bil­i­ties,” Obama be­gan. “This is not one of them.

The two tur­keys, 17kg gob­blers hatched the same day were each up for top billing as the na­tional Thanks­giv­ing turkey. Af­ter an on­line White House crowd­sourc­ing elec­tion, Pop­corn won.

The event is usu­ally an op­por­tu­nity for droll com­men­tary by the pres­i­dent and the kind of in­side de­tail that the White House rarely shares with re­porters.

Pop­corn, the White House said, likes to feed on corn and strut to Bey­once’s Halo, while Caramel prefers soy­bean meal and Lady Gaga. Good to know. Pop­corn’s vic­tory, Obama said, proves “that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in pol­i­tics”.

As for Caramel, “he’s stick­ing around and he’s al­ready busy rais­ing money for his next cam­paign”, the pres­i­dent said.

Pres­i­dents have spared tur­keys off and on as far back as the Lin­coln era, ac­cord­ing to the White House.

The first of­fi­cial par­don was granted by Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush.

Later on Wed­nes­day, Obama, wife Michelle, daugh­ters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in­law Mar­ian Robin­son vol­un­teered at a lo­cal charity – the Capi­tol Area Food Bank – dis­tribut­ing bags of sweet pota­toes, onions, car­rots, ap­ples and small white boxes of the pres­i­den­tial M&Ms.

Obama said the fam­ily also planned to de­liver a cou­ple of tur­keys to the food bank – these, not spared.

“To­mor­row, as we gather with our own friends and fam­ily,” Obama said on a se­ri­ous note, “we’ll count our­selves lucky that there’s more to be thank­ful for than we can ever say and more to be hope­ful for than we can ever imag­ine.” – AP

Solemn oc­ca­sion ... not: Pres­i­dent Barack Obama con­tin­u­ing the Amer­i­can Thanks­giv­ing tra­di­tion of sav­ing a turkey from the din­ner ta­ble with a ‘pres­i­den­tial par­don’ at the White House last week. Flank­ing him are daugh­ters Malia (right) and Sasha; on the far left is John Burkel, chair­man of the US Na­tional Turkey Fed­er­a­tion. And that’s re­lieved turkey, Pop­corn. — EPA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.