2 Minnesota turkeys drive nation's capital loony


Washington, D.C., has gone to the birds. Specifically, two Minnesota turkeys.

The toms in question would be Caramel and Popcorn, who were raised on a farm near Badger, Minnesota, and, for a few moments Wednesday, were the focus of the power center of the Western World.

At a widely publicized afternoon ceremony, President Barack Obama pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey, an event the White House this year gave a new social-media twist by asking the public to vote on which of the two birds should be the official national bird.

The public's favorite? Popcorn. (For the record, both will be spared.)

The Obama administration (your tax dollars at work here) generated extra buzz this year by creating a webpage profiling the two turkeys with their vital stats, and even audio of each bird's call. You'll find other info, too: For the record, Caramel prefers to listen to the song "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga and Popcorn is partial to Beyonce's "Halo."

The turkey pardon is an old tradition, and over the decades it has quietly played out at the White House. But in the age of social media, the whole event has got a lot of wattles wagging this year in the nation's capital. One Washington Post blogger argues it is the dumbest tradition in America.

More gobbling:

The Washington Post has a video with everything you need to know about the tradition, and it includes an interview with Minnesota farmer John Burkel, chairman of the National Turkey Federation, who brought his prized birds to D.C. He tells the Post a bit about how he has "trained" them to be used to handling and noise so that no one gets a "wing in the face" during the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Politico went behind the scenes, visiting the swanky hotel suite in Washington where the birds were waiting for their moment in the trotlight (see photos here).

Next Up