Beating the holiday odds, one lucky Thanksgiving turkey won a presidential pardon Wednesday. It will be retired, not stuffed.
The white-feathered 60-pounder is the 50th bird in as many years to be spared in a tradition dating to President Harry S. Truman.
The turkey will be retired to a Virginia farm to “bask in the sun, collect his hard-earned pension and enjoy his golden years,” President Clinton said.
“That’s one less turkey in Washington,” he added, grinning.
Unlike some White House turkeys past, the 1997 turkey remained quiet and calm as first the president, then dozens of schoolchildren, stroked its feathers.
The reprieved bird, from the Tarheel Turkey Hatchery in Raeford, N.C., was chosen for its starring Thanksgiving role from a flock of 2,000.
It was presented at the White House by the National Turkey Federation.
Later in the day, Clinton, his arms around his wife, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, home from Stanford University, took off by helicopter for Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains.