Pardon That Turkey!

By CNN News Wire

Published 11/27 2013 05:51AM

Updated 11/27 2013 05:53AM

WASHINGTON, DC -- This Thanksgiving, as people cook up turkeys all over the country, at least one lucky bird will live through the season...thanks to a presidential pardon.

There are two turkeys up for the job and it all comes down to a vote.

What did one clumsy turkey say to the other at a Washington photo opportunity?  "Pardon me."

There they were in the ballroom of the posh Willard Hotel.  Amid dangling chandeliers, their snoods dangled as the press tried to get them to talk.

It's Caramel versus Popcorn.

The White House is running a contest, asking people to vote on which should be the national Thanksgiving turkey.

Some are comparing it to the Hunger Games.

But in this case both come out alive, though only one gets the presidential pardon publicly...

You are hereby pardoned.

The other is an alternate.

Our money is on Popcorn -- plumper, with a more robust gobble.

Caramel and Popcorn join other illustrious duos:

Pumpkin and Pecan.

Biscuits and Gravy.

Cobbler and Gobbler.

Flyer and Fryer.

Caramel and Popcorn come from a Minnesota farm where 20 finalists were trained in this cottage.

John Burkel practiced lifting them onto this table so they wouldn't do this when their big day came.

But Popcorn and Caramel seemed more relaxed than their human owners.

The kids taught the photographers to whistle and trill to get the turkeys to gobble.

The turkeys made the 1500 mile drive to Washington in 27 hours. They've already outlived most of their compatriots.

"Truth is on my farm, I never raise them past 14 weeks, because we eat them," Burkel says.

Occasionally a pardoned bird gets peckish.

And the pardoner-in-chief expresses ambivalence.

"Thanks to the intervention of Malia and Sasha, because I was planning to eat this sucker."

And then there was the turkey that didn't get pardoned, the one that met his demise behind Sarah Palin's back.

It happened as she was giving an interview at a turkey farm shortly after she and John McCain were defeated in the presidential election. We'll spare you the gruesome part.

The people will decide whether Popcorn or Caramel gets the glory this year.

At least this government website is working.

It's no turkey.

(Jeanne Moos,  CNN)

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