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Thanksgiving turkeys get presidential pardon (video)

Two 45-pound turkeys, named Liberty and Peace, got a presidential Thanksgiving pardon today.

President Obama pardons the official national Thanksgiving Turkey, Liberty, alongside his daughters Sasha and Malia on the North Portico of the White House in Washington on Wednesday. Holding Liberty is Richard Huisinga, Chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

Jason Reed/Reuters

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Liberty and Peace are getting a reprieve this year.

Both are 19-week-old, 45-pound turkeys — their names selected from more than 100 submissions — that President Barack Obama  pardoned Wednesday in an annual Thanksgiving rite.

The birds are from Minnesota, which will surely spur some analysis about the value of sparing turkeys from a political battleground state ahead of an election year. The motives, however, might be simpler — Minnesota produces more turkeys than any other U.S. state.

Liberty, the official national Thanksgiving turkey, and Peace, its alternate, were selected from among 30 turkeys raised and groomed in Willmar, Minn., just for a potential presidential amnesty. One of the 30 turkeys — a bird prosaically named "Ted" — flapped out of his coop Friday during a send-off ceremony with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. He was retrieved and calmed.

The White House says many of the ideas for names came from Minneapolis and St. Paul schoolchildren who studied the importance of agriculture to the world food supply and to local economies.


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