President Obama trotted out his best jokes at the 2015 White House turkey pardon Wednesday afternoon in the Rose Garden, even getting some laughs from his daughters -– who appeared at times disinterested in last year’s proceedings.
“It is hard to believe that this is my seventh year of pardoning turkeys,” Obama said. “Time flies, even if turkeys don’t.”
“That was good, that was good,” Sasha, his youngest daughter, said with a giggle.
“I thought it was good,” the president replied.
This year’s lucky turkey was “Abe,” an 18-week-old, 40-pound turkey raised in California’s Central Valley under the supervision of the National Turkey Federation.
“Abe is now a free bird. He’s TOTUS -– the Turkey of the United States,” Obama said.
“If for some reason Abe can't fulfill his duties to walk around and gobble all day, Honest is in an undisclosed location ready to serve in the TOTUS line of succession,” he continued.
The Obama daughters were criticized after last year's pardoning for looking bored at times. (One former Republican Capitol Hill staffer criticized them for their expressions, and later resigned over the remarks.)
This year, the First Daughters seemed to enjoy this year’s event, joking with each other and their father throughout the ceremony.
In his second-to-last turkey pardon -– potentially his last with both daughters, as Malia will start college next year -– the president thanked Sasha and Malia for their participation.
“They do this solely because it makes me feel good. Not because they actually think that this is something I should be doing,” he said.
“As you get older you appreciate when your kids just indulge you like this, so I'm very grateful,” he continued.
Abe was picked to participate in the Rose Garden ceremony over his alternate, “Honest,” in an online poll. Both turkeys –- who were named by California school children -– will live out their days at a historic Virginia turkey farm after receiving their presidential pardons.