Obama Pardons Turkey; Celebrates Thanksgiving With Family, Friends

The First Family celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving at the White House with several friends and White House staff members after he issued his first post-election pardon.

Prior to the official start of the Thanksgiving Day holiday, President Obama extended a hand of sympathy to a turkey named Cobbler, marking the 65th anniversary of presidents keeping the bird from being the centerpiece at a family dinner.

"They say that life is all about second chances," Obama said to laughter, with his daughters Sasha and Malia at his side. "And this November, I could not agree more. So in the spirit of the season, I have one more gift to give, and it goes to a pair of turkeys named Cobbler and Gobbler." His mentioning of "gift" could possibly be a reference to Mitt Romney's suggestion that Obama won the election by giving "gifts" to minority groups in exchange for support.

For the holiday, the president also continued the tradition of phoning service members from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. "The president thanked each of them for their service and sacrifice and wished them and their families a happy Thanksgiving," the White House said.

And before the big meal was served, Obama, a big basketball fan, hosted the Oregon State University basketball team and gave them a view of the Oval Office. Craig Robinson, the brother of first lady Michelle Obama, coaches the team. Players also helped pack and distribute food baskets for children and seniors on Wednesday at the Capital Area Food Bank.

Later in the day President Obama, first lady Michelle and their daughters had Thanksgiving dinner with White House staff members and guests. So what does the first family have for dinner on Thanksgiving? The menu included unpardoned turkey, ham, oyster stuffing and macaroni and cheese along with sweet potatoes and green bean casserole.

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