WASHINGTON – President Obama pardoned a pair of 48-pound turkeys, Mac and Cheese, Wednesday as part of an annual Thanksgiving tradition at the White House.
Cheese took the top honor in an online poll to decide who should be spared, with Mac gobbling his way into second place. The president spared both.
Before the official pardon, Obama joked, “I am here to announce what I'm sure will be the most talked about executive action this month.”
He added, “I am taking an action fully within my legal authority - the same kind of action taken by Democrat and Republican presidents before me - to spare the lives of two turkeys - Mac and Cheese.
Though spared from headlining this year’s dinner, these fat, feathered fowls probably won’t live long enough to see next Thanksgiving.
In a cruel twist, almost all of the turkeys that have received the big presidential pardon have kicked the proverbial turkey bucket soon thereafter. The lucky few who do manage to make it past the one-year mark were sent in the past to places like Frying Pan Park.
Though the tradition of sparing two big birds has been around for some time, letting the public weigh in on the action is relatively new twist.
The online poll set up by the White House let voters choose between Team Mac and Team Cheese.
This year, both birds are from Cooper Farms in Oakwood, Ohio.
Mac’s selling points included “a grand champion style strut” and a gobble that’s “got a country ring to it,” according to his official profile.
Cheese “is a feather-shaker with a rhythmic gobble that loves to cheese it up for the cameras.”
President George H.W. Bush was the first modern president to offer an official turkey pardon on Nov. 14, 1989. Looking back, some say the president probably should have paid more attention to what happened to the bird after it was pardoned. That year, after being pardoned, the turkey was sent to Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Virginia.
Park manager Yvonne Johnson told FoxNews.com that for more than a decade, the spared birds would be sent to live out their golden days on the farm. In 2004, the park stopped accepting the birds.