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Inside Politics

Bush pardons Thanksgiving turkey

From Catherine Berger
CNN Washington Bureau

President Bush pets Stars the national Thanksgiving turkey during a ceremony pardoning the turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House.
President Bush pets Stars the national Thanksgiving turkey during a ceremony pardoning the turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House.

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George W. Bush
Thanksgiving
White House

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush Monday pardoned the national Thanksgiving turkey, marking the 56th anniversary of the annual event. Apart from some gobbling while the president spoke, the lucky turkey, Stars, was generally well behaved during the Rose Garden ceremony.

"It speaks well for America that one of our most important holidays is set aside for sharing and appreciating our blessings," Bush said. "This year, as in other times in our history, we can be especially grateful for the courage and faithfulness of those who defend us."

In a first, "thousands" of people voted on the White House Web site to name Stars as well as his alternate, Stripes. Both were spared by the president and will live out their days at Kidwell Farm's Frying Pan Park in Virginia.

The role of the alternate turkey is "not to be taken lightly," said Bush. "The rule book states that an alternate turkey is chosen in case the national Thanksgiving turkey cannot fulfill his role in this ceremony. It's kind of like being the vice president," he joked.

According to the White House Web site, the names Stars and Stripes beat out Pumpkin and Cranberry 42 percent to 31 percent in what the president deemed "a neck-and-neck race."

Hope and Glory garnered 12 percent of the vote while Lewis and Clark took 9 percent. Plymouth and Mayflower and Harvest and Bounty got a weak 3 percent each.


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