Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe'

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

15 PHOTOS
2015 Turkey Pardon, Honest and Abe
See Gallery
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe'
President Barack Obama, with National Turkey Federation Chairman Jihad Douglas, applaud during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, where the president pardoned National Thanksgiving Turkey Abe. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama, with National Turkey Federation Chairman Jihad Douglas, center, and handler Joe Hedden, prepares to pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey Abe, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. This is the 68th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
US President Barack Obama speaks next to daughters Malia (R) and Sasha before 'pardoning' the National Thanksgiving Turkey in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 25, 2015. The President pardoned Honest and his alternate Abe, both 18-week old, 40-pound turkeys. The names of the turkeys were chosen from submissions from California school children. After the pardoning, the turkeys will be on display for visitors at their permanent home at Morven Parks Turkey Hill, the historic turkey farm located at the home of former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis (1918-1922) in Leesburg, Virginia. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama pardons Abe, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. This is the 68th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Sasha Obama, left, shares a laugh with her dad President Barack Obama during an event to pardon Abe, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, in the Rose Garden of the White House, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Washington. This is the 68th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
This picture taken Nov. 19, 2015, in Modesto, Calif., shows a turkey selected for a pardon from the Thanksgiving dinner table by President Obama. A class of fifth grade students from nearby Eisenhut Elementary School cheered for their favorite as Foster Farms staffers picked the prized bird. The lucky turkey was selected on Thursday for a trip to the White House, where President Obama will pardon it in an annual tradition. (AP Photo/Scott Smith)
President Barack Obama, standing with National Turkey Federation Chairman Jihad Douglas, applaud during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, where the president pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey Abe. This is the 68th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 25: Malia Obama, daughter of U.S. President Barack Obama, participates in the turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House November 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. In a tradition dating back to 1947, the president pardons a turkey, sparing the tom -- and his alternate -- from becoming a Thanksgiving Day feast. This year, Americans were asked to choose which of two turkeys would be pardoned and to cast their votes on Twitter. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 25: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks with his daughters Sasha (L) and Malia during the annual turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House November 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. In a tradition dating back to 1947, the president pardons a turkey, sparing the tom -- and his alternate -- from becoming a Thanksgiving Day feast. This year, Americans were asked to choose which of two turkeys would be pardoned and to cast their votes on Twitter. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama(L)prepares to 'pardon' the National Thanksgiving Turkey in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 25, 2015. The President pardoned Honest and his alternate Abe, both 18-week old, 40-pound turkeys. The names of the turkeys were chosen from submissions from California school children. After the pardoning, the turkeys will be on display for visitors at their permanent home at Morven Parks Turkey Hill, the historic turkey farm located at the home of former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis (1918-1922) in Leesburg, Virginia. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 24: Two turkeys participate in a media availability at the Willard Inter Continental Hotel ahead of being 'pardoned' by US President Barack Obama at the White House November 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The names of the main turkey and his alternate will be announced at the annual White House ceremony on November 25. Both turkeys will reside at their new home, Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 24: Jihad Douglas, chairman of the National Turkey Federation introduces two turkeys during a media availability at the Willard Inter Continental Hotel ahead of their 'pardon' by US President Barack Obama at the White House November 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The names of the main turkey and his alternate will be announced at the annual White House ceremony on November 25. Both turkeys will reside at their new home, Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 06: A Nicholas White turkey, one of two presidential turkey candidates, sits in an enclosure during a press conference at the InterContinental Hotel on November 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Two presidential turkey candidates, known as Tom 1 and Tom 2, are contending for the honor of being named the 2015 National Thanksgiving turkey and being pardoned by U.S. president Barack Obama during a pardoning ceremony at the White House before Thanksgiving. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Men dressed as secret service agents stand guard next to two Nicholas White turkeys that are presidential turkey candidates during a press conference at the InterContinental Hotel on November 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Two presidential turkey candidates, known as Tom 1 and Tom 2, are contending for the honor of being named the 2015 National Thanksgiving turkey and being pardoned by U.S. president Barack Obama during a pardoning ceremony at the White House before Thanksgiving. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and bipartisan cheer no matter how troubled the times.

Obama pardoned "Abe," the 2015 national Thanksgiving turkey, during a ceremony Wednesday in the Rose Garden. Abe gobbled right on cue as Obama finished his absolution.

Don't fret for "Honest," though, the second bird who was nearby if off camera. Both turkeys will spend their remaining days living it up on a Virginia farm.

Watch more coverage:

Pres. Obama Pardons 'Abe' the Turkey

The birds hail from California, are 18 weeks old and weigh in at about 42 pounds each. The names of the turkeys were chosen from submissions entered by school children in California. Honest has a red face and neck, while Abe's crown features more extensive blue splotches.

Obama referred to Abe as TOTUS, or Turkey of the United States.

"America is, after all, a country of second chances and this turkey has earned a second chance to live out the rest of his life comfortably on 1,000 acres of open land complete with a barn called the 'the White House on Turkey Hill,' which actually sounds pretty good," Obama said.

See presidential turkeys through the years:

20 PHOTOS
Presidents with Turkeys - Thanksgiving - Turkey pardons
See Gallery
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe'

Photograph of President Truman looking on as representatives of the turkey industry exhibit the Thanksgiving turkey they have presented to the President, outside the White House, 11/16/1949

(Flickr/US National Archives)

The President Receives Thanksgiving Turkey from Poultry and Egg National Board, Accompanied by Senator Everett M. Dirkson , 11/19/1963

(Flickr/US National Archives)

Turkey presentation for Thanksgiving, 11/18/1969

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Richard Nixon on Thanksgiving Day, November 20, 1970, in Washington. (Photo by Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Pat Nixon Receives the Annual Live Thanksgiving Turkey, 11/23/1971

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Gerald R. Ford is Presented with a Thanksgiving Turkey by the National Turkey Federation, 11/20/1975

(Flickr/US National Archives)

Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House, 11/23/1982

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Reagan Attending a Ceremony to Receive the 36th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey from Representatives of the National Turkey Federation on the South Lawn, 11/21/1983

(Flickr/US National Archives)

President Reagan attending ceremony to receive the 36th annual Thanksgiving Turkey from representatives of the National Turkey Federation on the South Lawn.

(Flickr/US National Archives)

White House Ceremony to Receive the 40th Thanksgiving Turkey, 11/23/1987

(Flickr/US National Archives)

U.S. President George H. Bush pets a turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 1990 in Washington as Wyatt Upchurch, president of the National Turkey Federation who presented the bird looks on. The Thanks giving turkey is given to a animal farm near Washington. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
Shannon Duffy, 8, Fairfax, Virginia, reaches out for the Thanksgiving turkey presented to President Bush, Friday, November 17, 1989 by the National Turkey Foundation. President and Mrs. Bush donated the turkey to a Children's petting farm in Virginia. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
President Clinton, along with, from left, handler Walter Gisiason, National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman Frank Gessell, obscured, and NTF Secretary Treasurer Jerry Jerome admire a 45-pound turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House Tuesday, Nov. 24, 1998, where the president, in a pre-Thanksgiving tradition, pardoned the bird. The turkey will be sent to the Frying Pan Park in Fairfax, Va. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
President Clinton, holding his nephew Tyler, 6, grants a "pardon" to a turkey named "Jerry," from Barron Wis., during the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at White House, in Washington Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2000. Placing the turkey on the table is Nickolas Feidt, the man who raised it. Standing in the background, from left, are Stuart Proctor, Jr., and Jerry Jerome, chairman of the National Turkey Federation. Clinton's action in the Rose Garden spared the bird, so he won't become someone's meal. It will instead go to a petting zoo in Herndon, Va. (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert)
President Bush pets "Liberty" the turkey as he participates in the annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House Monday Nov. 19, 2001. At left is Jeff Radford, of Goldsboro Milling Co. in Goldsboro, N.C., and Stuart Proctor, president of National Turkey Federation,second from left. Liberty will spend the rest of his life at a petting farm in Herndon, Va. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
President Bush holds Biscuits the turkey by the neck as he participated in the pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
President Bush, center, shows "Flyer" the National Thanksgiving turkey to girls from a local Girl Scout troop after after pardoning the turkey during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006, in Washington. Holding the turkey is Lynn Nutt, left, from Springfield, Mo. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27: President Barack Obama with his daughters by his side, Sasha and malia, ceremoniously pardon Popcorn the turkey during the annual 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony on the north portico of the White House on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. The turkey, and turkey alternate, will be driven to George Washingtons Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. And will be on display for visitors during Christmas at Mount Vernon, through January 6. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: (L to R) U.S. President Barack Obama smiles at his his daughters Sasha and Malia after he pardoned 'Cheese' and his alternate Mac (not shown,) both 20-week old 48-pound Turkeys, during a ceremony at the White House November 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

George H.W. Bush was the first president to formally pardon a Thanksgiving turkey, though stories of spared turkeys date back to Abraham Lincoln's presidency.

The National Turkey Federation is the turkey supplier for the event. The trade group and others have been providing turkeys for the first family going back to President Harry Truman, though not all of the birds provided over the years shared a similar reprieve from the White House dinner table.

Obama was accompanied at the event by his daughters, Malia and Sasha. They didn't look thrilled at last year's turkey pardoning, and Obama thanked them for once against standing with him.

"They do this solely because it makes me feel good, not because they actually think that this is something I should be doing," Obama said. "As you get older, you appreciate when your kids just indulge you like this."

The event is typically filled with turkey jokes, "As you may have heard, for months there're has been fierce competition between a bunch of turkeys trying to win their way into the White House," Obama said.

Obama recognized that perhaps he'd told one too many at one point, when he noted that Honest was in an undisclosed location, ready to serve as TOTUS, if necessary. "Oh, boy," Obama sighed.

After the ceremony, the Obama family planned to serve a meal to homeless veterans in Washington.

Watch more coverage:

National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardons Through the Years

More from AOL.com:
3 turkey tips from an expert at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line
6 absurd things you never knew about Thanksgiving
Trick to get fluffier mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners