The people have spoken, and Popcorn is America's turkey.
President Obama officially pardoned the Minnesota-born bird Wednesday afternoon. Popcorn edged out flockmate Caramel in a popularity contest, after the White House turned the job of choosing the official National Thanksgiving Turkey over to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
"The office of the presidency -- the most powerful position in the world -- brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities. This is not one of them," joked the president, who was joined by daughters Sasha and Malia for the annual rite. "Generally speaking, 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."
The people had spoken -- for #TeamCaramel or #TeamPopcorn -- and Popcorn, a splendid white puffball, carried the day.
"The competition was stiff, but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner -- proving that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics," Obama said. "As for Caramel, he’s sticking around, and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign."
Caramel may have lost the popularity contest, but he won a pardon anyway. The big birds will spend the rest of the holidays at George Washington's home, on display as part of the annual Christmas at Mount Vernon celebration. Then they'll retire to Morven Park’s Turkey Hill Farm in Leesburg, Va.
John Burkel of Badger, Minn., chairman of thee National Turkey Federation, raised Caramel, Popcorn and Minnesota's official Thanksgiving turkey (who ended up in a St. Paul Salvation Army kitchen.) The birds' names were chose by Roseau County schoolchildren and a group of Badger High School students joined Burkel at the White House Wednesday.
As Obama pardoned the birds, he announced that two replacement turkeys, already dressed, would be donated to a nearby Washington, D.C., food shelf.
"Popcorn, you have a full reprieve from cranberry sauce and stuffing. We wish you well," he said. "And we’re going to give Carmel a break as well."
Rachel Bohman jumped into the Secretary of State's race within an hour after DFL Secretary Mark Ritchie said he would not run for a third term.
Now, two months later, she is dropping out.
Bohman, who ran some of the state's larger local election offices, said the "huge personal commitment" of a statewide race simply did not fit with her desire to care for her young family.
"Now is not the right time for me to seek the office of Secretary of State," she said. "We will be fortunate to have a solid field of DFL candidates and I am confident that we are stronger in holding this seat and building on the legacy of Secretary Mark Ritchie if we unite as a party as soon as possible."
Bohman said that she does not plan on endorsing any of the other candidates in the race or thinking about running and plans on returning any financial contributions she received.
State Rep. Debra Hilstrom and former Rep. Jeremy Kalin, both DFLers, have filed campaign committees to run for Secretary of State. Several other Democrats and Republicans are considering running for the seat two-term Secretary Ritchie will leave open.
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