Turkey Pardoned

President Obama pardons a turkey on Nov. 4, 2010, next to National Turkey Federation President Yubert Envia. (Reuters / November 24, 2010)

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  • What do you think?
    (Note: This is an unscientific poll.)

    Should presidents stop pardoning turkeys for Thanksgiving?

    • Yes. It's hypocritical. One bird gets pardoned, but another gets killed for dinner. What's the point?
    • No. It's a cute tradition. Do we banish Santa just because he's not real?
    • Yes. It's a mockery of the presidential pardon. President Obama has actually pardoned very few human beings who have asked for clemency, many fewer than Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon or Dwight Eisenhower. This turkey pardon makes a joke of real misery.
    • Oh, lighten up. The turkey pardon is more fun than talking about Syria.
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  • Barack Obama
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A tradition -- the president pardoning turkeys from certain death just before Thanksgiving -- has come in for an unusual amount of criticism this year. A Slate.com writer suggests President Obama pardon real people instead of (or in addition to) turkeys. The writer reports that the president has pardoned about 1 in every 290 people who have applied -- far fewer than his four predecessors. Others have pointed out that turkeys bred for the table don’t last long anyway. Is this a cute tradition, or a cruel joke?


Five things to know about the turkey pardon
Washington Post, Nov. 24

The turkey pardon is America's dumbest tradition
Wonkblog, Washington Post, Nov. 26

The Presidential Turkey Pardon Insults the Real People Who Deserve to Be Pardoned
Slate.com, Nov. 26

The Great Turkey Pardon Hype
Washington CityPaper, Nov. 26

9 minutes and 23 seconds of Thanksgiving fun
Mother Nature Network, Nov. 26