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'Lame duck' Bush still has the power to pardon Thanksgiving turkeys.

Byline: ANI

Washington, November 27 (ANI): U.S. President George W. Bush might have been rendered a "lame duck" after Barack Obama's election, but he has proved that he is still powerful enough to pardon by sparing the national Thanksgiving turkey on Wednesday, honouring a tradition that dates to Harry Truman's presidency.

The 45-pound bird, named "Pumpkin" through an online vote, behaved quietly as Bush presided over a Rose Garden ceremony.

There was also a backup bird named "Peacan" on the ticket, though it was nowhere to be seen.

"Pumpkin will be the honorary grand marshal of Disneyland's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Together, these birds will gobble the rest of their days in the happiest place on Earth. I just hope they stay humble there," Fox News quoted the president as declaring.

Animal rights group PETA wrote a letter to Bush urging him to send the turkeys to an areas sanctuary instead.

"You might be a lame duck, but you still have the power to help lame turkeys," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a letter to Bush.

The ritual, however, went on as planned, according to the website.

The ceremony also saw Bush thanking troops and volunteers, to teachers and pastors, and to all the American people.

He also thanked his wife and daughters for all the support he got from them.

"I'm thankful for the wonderful and supporting family that I have been blessed with. I'm grateful to Laura for her love. I am grateful for two Thanksgiving miracles who we were blessed with 27 years ago, Barbara and Jenna," he said.

Bush even gave thanks that his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, who was doing well at a Houston hospital following surgery Wednesday morning for a perforated ulcer.

He finally welcomed the newest addition to the Bush family, Henry Hager, Jenna's husband.

"We're looking forward to having another place at our Thanksgiving table with a son-in-law," he said.

Bush is spending a long Thanksgiving weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Dec 3, 2008
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