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Obama Pardons Popcorn The Turkey

After an online vote that included a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram campaign, a turkey named Popcorn won a presidential reprieve from the Thanksgiving table Wednesday.
Washington (CNN) - After an online vote that included a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram campaign, a turkey named Popcorn won a presidential reprieve from the Thanksgiving table Wednesday.

In a White House ceremony, President Barack Obama joined by daughters Sasha and Malia, joked that, "Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey. Especially at a house with two dogs. So I salute our two guests of honor, Caramel and Popcorn for their bravery."

Obama said 80 turkeys went head to head for the chance to make it to the White House. "It was quite literally 'The Hunger Games,'” the President said.

"And then after weeks of vocal practice and prepping for the cameras, the two turkeys, Caramel and Popcorn, went head to head together for America's vote as top gobbler,” Obama said.

"The competition was stiff but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner."

Related: Where pardoned turkeys go to die

Popcorn, who was raised in Minnesota, seemed unfazed by his newfound notoriety. Before the President came out to make the announcement, the fluffed up turkey strutted about the North Portico of the White House looking like he owned the place. He occasionally glanced around at the gathered crowd of journalists, photographers and invited guests, as his handlers kept shooing him back over to the spot where he would eventually greet the President.

The ceremony was moved from the Rose Garden to the North Portico of the White House which faces Lafayette Park, due to the storm blasting the East Coast. The temperature was a brisk 39 degrees and rain came pelting down on the gathered crowd.

After the President awarded the reprieve, he joked that this event proved, "that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics. As for Caramel, he's sticking around and he's already busy raising money for his next campaign."

If you're worried about Caramel's fate - don't be.

The White House says both birds will be spared and following the event, they will be driven to George Washington's home, Mount Vernon, where they will spend Christmas and New Year's. In January the pair will be moved to their permanent home at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia to live out their days.

The White House says that both Caramel and Popcorn are "20-week old, approximately 38-pound turkeys," and the turkey's names were, "chosen from submissions from elementary schools in Roseau County, Minnesota, where the turkeys were raised."
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