Forget the new nuclear deal with Iran, or the false starts on the Obamacare website. President Barack Obama is about to take action on the most important piece of business of his tenure: pardoning turkeys Caramel and Popcorn
Both Popcorn or Caramel will be spared from Americans’ dinner tables this Thanksgiving, which you can view via live stream below (the event starts at 1:20 p.m. EST) or at White House Live. But only one of the birds will take the title of National Thanksgiving Turkey (check out the sound of Popcorn and Caramel's gobbles here.) Voting has closed, but here’s a tale of the tape for Caramel and Popcorn:
The presidential turkey pardon is a longstanding tradition, the origins of which are a little murky. Some say turkey pardoning began with President Abraham Lincoln.
“According to one story, Lincoln’s son Ted begged his father to write out a presidential pardon for the bird meant for the family’s Christmas table, arguing it had as much a right to live as anyone,” the White House blog explains. “Lincoln acquiesced and the turkey lived.”
The National Turkey Federation started providing the White House with a Thanksgiving turkey in 1947. But in 1963, President John F. Kennedy sent back the turkey.
“We’ll just let this one grow,” he said.
President Richard Nixon also followed up on that tradition, choosing to send his turkeys to a petting farm near Washington, D.C.
President George H.W. Bush is credited with having the first official presidential turkey pardoning ceremony, when on November 14, 1989, he said the turkey, has “been granted a presidential pardon as of right now.”
The tradition, as it was set under Bush, has continued ever since.
During the 2010 presidential turkey pardon, Obama jokingly called the tradition “one of the most important duties that I carry out as president.” That year, the president pardoned Apple and Cider from a farm in Modesto, Calif.
“Today, I have the awesome responsibility of granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys,” he said at the time. “
Check out the live stream of the 2013 presidential turkey pardon below: