The Presidential Turkey Pardon, 'Hunger Games' Edition


by Mary Bruce

ABC News

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 27 at 7:02 PM

(ABC News) -- It’s the Thanksgiving “Hunger Games.”

Two turkeys – Popcorn and Caramel – are up for tribute at the White House. Both will be pardoned by President Obama and spared from the dinner table, but only one can win the title of National Thanksgiving Turkey.

The White House on Tuesday pitted the two contenders against each other and asked the public to cast their vote for the winner online. In order to make an educated decision, the White House set up a website highlighting the turkeys likes and physical attributes, including recordings of their gobbles.

Hatched on the same day at a farm near Badger, Minn.,  “Caramel and Popcorn may have been raised together, but each has flown their own path,” the White House notes. “Caramel is a steady and deliberate bird that enjoys soybean meal and rocking out to Lady Gaga. When Popcorn is feeling peckish, he can’t stop snacking on his namesake, corn, and has been known to strut around to Beyonce’s ‘Halo.’”

The tradition of granting turkeys their freedom dates back to 1963 when President Kennedy sent that year’s gift from the National Turkey Federation back to the farm, declaring “we’ll just let this one grow.” President George H.W. Bush was the first to grant a turkey an official presidential pardon in 1989.

President Obama continues the tradition today. This afternoon, he will ceremoniously declare a winner and send the two lucky birds to live out their days in retirement on the charmed Mount Vernon estate.

But the spared bird's freedom is often short lived. All eight of the turkeys pardoned by Obama so far have reportedly moved on to greener pastures.

To be fair, the average turkey lifespan is roughly three to four years and Obama is not the first president with a poor track record in this department.

Hopefully the turkeys pardoned today will have better luck.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

For more from ABC News, click here.