Obama's Pardoned Turkey Heads to Disneyland

This turkey will fly

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Sasha Obama looks at a turkey named "Courage" during an event to pardon the 20-week-old and 45-pound turkey at the North Portico of the White House.

    Hey Turkey! You just gained freedom by being pardoned by the president of the United States on the day before Thanksgiving! What are you going to do now?

    "Gobble gobble gobble gobblegobble!"

    White House Pardons Courage, Sends Him to Disneyland

    [DC] White House Pardons Courage, Sends Him to Disneyland
    President Barack Obama saves a turkey's life. (Published Saturday, Nov 28, 2009)

    Translation:  "I'm going to Disneyland!"

    That's right, Courage the Turkey was spared Wednesday morning by President Barack Obama in his first presidential turkey pardon at the White House, and his good luck will continue with an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland. The North Carolina bird's flight was scheduled to leave Dulles International Airport at 2:15 p.m., barring any delays in the security lines. 

    But seriously, the turkey's flying to the Happiest Place on Earth while yours truly gets to sit in traffic for hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Maybe the president will pardon a journalist next year...

    Anyway, Sasha and Malia were on hand Wednesday as their dad did the annual pardoning, a tradition that dates back to ... well, no one's really sure.

    Some say it was President Truman who first pardoned a bird for Thanksgiving in 1947, but the Truman Library says it has no evidence to back that up.

    So we turn to our pal Domenico Montanaro at MSNBC's First Read for the rest of the story:

    So which president was the first to actually pardon a Thanksgiving turkey?

    It appears it was John F. Kennedy in 1963. An NBC archive search found a Los Angeles Times article dated Nov. 20, 1963 with the headline, "Turkey gets presidential pardon."

    And that turkey was a monster. The paper described it as a "55-pound broad white tom."

    Despite a sign hanging around the bird's neck that read "Good eating, Mr. President," Kennedy took a look down at the "frightened, panting bird" and said, "We'll just let this one grow."

    President Obama had a little fun during his first pardoning, cracking a few jokes for those in attendance.

    "Today, I am pleased to announce that thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha -- because I was planning to eat this sucker -- Courage will be spared this terrible and delicious fate," Obama said.

    "Now, before this turkey gets too nervous that Bo will escape and screw up this pardon, or before I change my mind, I hereby pardon Courage so that he can live out the rest of his days in peace and tranquility in Disneyland."

    And with that, our relations with turkey(s) reached a new level.

    Maybe that Nobel Peace Prize went to the right person after all...