WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama pardoned two turkeys in an annual Thanksgiving rite Wednesday, saying he wanted to offer the birds a second chance.
"They say life is full of second chances, and this November I couldn't agree more with that sentiment," a smiling Obama said in one of several lighthearted references to his re-election this month.
Cobbler, the newly designated national turkey, and his alternate, Gobbler, received a reprieve. Accompanied by daughters Sasha and Malia, Obama waved his hand over Cobbler in a vaguely religious "dispensation," then laughed as the bird gobbled loudly.
The 19-week-old, 40-pound turkeys are from Rockingham County, Va. They will live at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate.
On a more serious note, Obama asked Americans to remember those in the Northeast who lost their homes, possessions and loved ones to Hurricane Sandy. Obama, who toured New York and New Jersey after the storm, said he has seen much destruction "but I have yet to find a broke spirit."