*In addition to escaping someone’s Thanksgiving dinner table, turkeys Tater and Tot got the honor of being the last two to be pardoned by President Obama.
The annual event went down at the White House on Wednesday, with his nephews standing in for daughters Malia and Sasha. The traditional ceremony in the Rose Garden saw Iowa-raised turkeys Tater and Tot let off the hook, with Tot receiving the formal reprieve.
Obama said he has used the past pardoning ceremonies to embarrass his daughters with a cornucopia of bad jokes about turkeys. “This year, they had a scheduling conflict. Actually, they just couldn’t take my jokes anymore,” the president said.
His young nephews, Austin and Aaron Robinson, stepped in to replace their cousins. Obama joked they had not yet been turned cynical by Washington. “They still believe in bad puns. They still believe in the grandeur of this occasion,” Obama said. “They still have hope.”
Although both turkeys were pardoned, the White House asked people on Twitter to vote for which turkey would receive the formal reprieve. A biography for each bird was provided to help voters with their decision. For example, Tater’s favorite snack is worms. Tot prefers tomato slices. Each 18-week-old bird weighed in at about 40 pounds.
While only one could be named the “National Thanksgiving Turkey,” the White House said that both birds will be sent to their new home at Virginia Tech’s “Gobblers Rest” where they will be cared for by veterinarians and students.
The ceremony also gave Obama a chance to reflect on the spirit of Thanksgiving. Obama said it’s a time to remember that “we have a lot more in common than divides us.” He also challenged Americans to show the world that the United States is a generous and giving country, and to make sure everyone has something to eat on Thanksgiving.
Unable to resist cracking his Thanksgiving puns, Obama said he hopes that when somebody at the Thanksgiving dinner table says you can’t have any more food, you’ll respond: “Yes, we cran.”
“I know there’s some bad ones in here, but this is the last time I’m doing this so we’re not leaving any room for leftovers,” he added.
After the ceremony, the president and first family headed off to volunteer at a community service event.