And the winner is ... a 38-pounder named “Popcorn.”
President Barack Obama crowned the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Wednesday and formally pardoned both Popcorn and runner-up “Caramel” at the White House, ensuring that the two gobblers will escape the carving knife this holiday season.
"With the power vested in me, I grant Popcorn full reprieve from a future of stuffing and cranberry sauce," Obama declared during the 66th anniversary of the turkey presentation.
Lauding the "bravery" of the two birds, he noted that the office of the presidency holds "many awesome and solemn responsibilities."
"This," he added, "is not one of them."
Popcorn, a fowl native to Badger, Minn., beat out rival Caramel for the title, which the White House put up for a vote via social media. (The contest was "literally The Hunger Games," he added, earning eye-rolling laughter from daughters Malia and Sasha, who joined him for the ceremony.)
Caramel, the president noted, is already "raising money for his next campaign."
Visitors to the WhiteHouse.gov site were encouraged to use Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to vote for their favorite of the two birds, whose favorite foods and songs were presented in addition to their vital statistics as background information for discerning voters. Popcorn favored “Halo” by Beyonce, while Caramel allegedly enjoyed the stylings of Lady Gaga on her megahit “Bad Romance.”
Popcorn, whose gait was described as a “proud strut” by the White House, did not comment during the annual ceremony.
That may have been for the best. Aides have conceded that Popcorn’s gobble is “more garbled” compared to Caramel’s “quick, clear and frequent” vocalizations.
Both birds are now headed for George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, where they will be on display through the holidays. Their permanent home will be a turkey farm in Leesburg, Virginia.