Obama pardons holiday turkeys, pokes fun at media

Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:58am EST
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By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It may not help the economy, but President Barack Obama found another move he can make without congressional approval on Wednesday: pardon a turkey.

Obama, a Democrat, has spent the last several weeks criticizing the Congress and Republicans for not embracing his jobs proposals, launching a "We Can't Wait" campaign to highlight executive actions he was taking to boost the economy without lawmakers' input.

With tongue in cheek, the president brought the same logic -- minus the economic incentive -- to the annual White House ritual of sparing a turkey.

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, and turkey is the centerpiece of the traditional holiday meal.

"Some of you may know that recently I've been taking a series of executive actions that don't require congressional approval," Obama told a chuckling crowd at the White House, with his daughters standing at his side.

"Well, here's another one. We can't wait to pardon these turkeys. Literally. Otherwise, they'd end up next to the mashed potatoes and stuffing."

Obama, grinning, raised his hand over one bird, dubbed "Liberty," and pronounced it safe from slaughter.

Obama said Liberty was chosen from a flock of 30 birds and raised by students from a high school in Minnesota, near the farm where the birds came from.   Continued...

<p>U.S. President Barack Obama (R) watches as his daughter Malia pets the 2011 Thanksgiving Turkey, Liberty, alongside her sister Sasha, during a ceremony on the North Portico of the White House in Washington November 23, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed</p>