President Obama pardons two Thanksgiving turkeys

media captionObama: "By the power vested in me... Popcorn, you have a full reprieve from cranberry sauce and stuffing"

US President Barack Obama has symbolically pardoned two turkeys on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The turkeys, named Caramel and Popcorn, were granted their presidential reprieve at the White House in what has become an annual tradition.

"I salute our two guests of honour... for their bravery," Mr Obama said of the turkeys who competed for the title of National Thanksgiving Turkey.

Popcorn emerged the victor in a previously conducted Facebook poll.

Mr Obama, flanked by daughters Sasha and Malia, joked that his job came with "awesome and solemn responsibilities" - but the annual turkey pardon "was not one of them".

On a more serious note, he thanked the American people as well as members of the military for their service prior to the national holiday.

Both Caramel and Popcorn will be shuttled to nearby Mount Vernon - George Washington's historic home - where they remain through Christmas.

The lucky birds will not be one of the estimated 46 million turkeys Americans consumed on Thanksgiving every year.

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