President Cheers Up Audience at Turkey Pardoning, Serves AFRH Residents

President Barack Obama and nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson watch the National Thanksgiving Turkey, Tater, flap during the pardon of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 23, 2016

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Washington, DC – The US President Barack Obama today (November 23) was at his best as he addressed the audience in the Rose Garden, White House at the pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey.

The two daughters Sasha and Malia Obama were conspicuous by their absence with their father Obama saying they were absent this year due to a “scheduling conflict.” President Obama was accompanied by two nephews.

“Thanksgiving is a family holiday as much as a national one,” Obama said amid roars of laughter from the audience adding, “So for the past seven years I’ve established another tradition: embarrassing my daughters with a corny-copia of dad jokes about turkeys.”

Admitting that, “Actually, they just couldn’t take my jokes anymore …They were fed up,” Obama decided to dump a barrage of Thanksgiving puns on the audience which enjoyed and joined in egging him on.

Staying on his daughters’ reactions, Obama said, “Malia and Sasha, by the way, are thankful that this is my final presidential turkey pardon. What I haven’t told them yet is that we are going to do this every year from now on.”

“No cameras. Just us. Every year. No way I’m cutting this habit cold turkey,” added Obama, amid laughter and applause.

Before Introducing the two turkeys, Obama defined Thanksgiving as a chance, “to gather with loved ones, reflect on our many blessings, and, after a long campaign season, finally turn our attention from polls to poultry.”

“This year, we’re honored to be joined by two of the lucky ones, who were raised by the Domino family in Iowa: Tater and Tot (both 18-week old, 40-pound turkeys),” said Obama as the turkeys came into focus, adding, “Tater is here in a backup role, just in case Tot can’t fulfill his duties.

“So he’s sort of like the Vice Turkey. We’re working on getting him a pair of aviator glasses,” said Obama, making a reference to the US Vice President Joe Biden in his aviators.

After their pardons, Obama said, the two would retire to a home at Virginia Tech, “which is admittedly a bit Hokie.”

Commenting on the other turkeys who weren’t so lucky, Obama continued in his lighter vein, “The brave turkeys who weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom – who met their fate with courage and sacrifice and proved that they weren’t chicken.”

President Obama did shift gears from the puns to take account of his eight years in office citing six years of job creation, narrowing inequality and an improved housing market. He urged Americans to see themselves in one another after a polarizing campaign season.

“Thanksgiving is a good time to remember that,” he said. “We have a lot more in common than divides us.”

“We should also make sure everyone has something to eat on Thanksgiving — of course, except the turkeys, because they’re already stuffed,” Obama said in his tone of the afternoon.

According to the White House, the President celebrated the 69th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, to reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday.

The statement added, “Iowa school children submitted pairs of names for this year’s turkeys.” Both birds were raised in Northwest Iowa under the supervision of National Turkey Federation Chairman John Reicks.

After the pardoning, the turkeys will be on display for visitors at their permanent home at Virginia Tech’s newly built “Gobblers Rest” exhibit where they will be cared for by students and veterinarians in the university’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department.

Thanksgiving Event at the AFRH

The National Turkey Federation will bring two dressed turkeys for the First Family to donate. These turkeys will be given to the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) in Washington, DC where the President and First Lady were later joined by Sasha Obama in addition to Craig, Kelly, Austin and Aaron Robinson serving Thanksgiving meals to residents of there.

The AFRH has cared for our Nation’s veterans for more than 180 years and has two campuses, one in Gulfport MS., and one in Washington DC. The Washington campus is home to 405 previously enlisted service members who have served in every campaign since World War II.

The White House further provided details of the event at the AFRH facility where the First Family served Thanksgiving dinner from a long table with a red covering. President Obama served turkey and gravy as the First Lady Obama served beans and spinach, Sasha had mashed potatoes, dressing and cranberry sauce to serve while additional family served pork chops and sweet potatoes.

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