Election Connection

Pardons, of All Kinds

The Election Connection blog will be on hiatus for the next two weeks, as we take a break for the holidays and get ready for the inauguration and transition.


As we ask for your pardon on taking a short break, it's fun to take a look at the notion of the presidential pardon. Today, President Bush pardoned the Thanksgiving turkey - two turkeys this year, in fact, named Pumpkin and Pecan. You can watch the ceremony here.


The tradition of pardoning a turkey has only been going on for 61 years, since the first national turkey was given to President Harry S Truman in 1947. But allowing the outgoing president to pardon criminals - that's been going on since George Washington's presidency. This piece from NPR, produced after Scooter Libby's conviction last year, looks at some of the most famous presidential pardons, including President Ford pardoning President Nixon after Watergate and President Clinton pardoning financier Mark Rich. But pardons can also show progress--President Clinton pardoned Freddie Meeks, a sailor in World War II who was convicted in a mutiny case that challenged segregation in the armed forces.


But the pardon allowance does makes you wonder... what did the turkeys do that they needed pardoning?


Have a very happy Thanksgiving from the Vote 2008 team. Watch this space for more updates in the coming weeks.



Lisa P said:

It is almost a long time tradition on giving a pardon to a turkey during the thanksgiving season. Sarah Palin may have seemed like a real turkey or a candidate for the Vice Presidency � but she has proved herself a public relations turkey as well, even though the media could be blamed for some foul play. A video has been circulating over the internet of her performing one of the more solemn and difficult of her duties as governor � pardoning a turkey. Now, the tradition of the pardoning of a turkey from the slaughter that awaits in anticipation of Thanksgiving is an amusing one, but when the Governor gives an oration about the pardoning of the bird while the meatpacking plant carries on with slaughtering other turkeys while she gives her speech seems a bit hypocritical � pardoning it whilst its relatives are slaughtered? (Can�t she at least give the poor flightless fowl a cash advance?) She was definitely in for the photo op, which is at least a light hearted break from the drudgery of the end of campaign season, but why wasn�t she at least made aware of what was going on behind her? Is this who we are to expect to enter the 2012 presidential race? She may seem to be looking out for Joe the Plumber and Joe Sixpack, but what about Tom Turkey? He should probably look into a fast cash advance for some armor. Click to read more on a Cash Advance

Leave a comment

We welcome your comments, and hope to host energetic, civil discussions. As you post, please keep the following in mind:

  • Keep your comments focused on the topic at hand.
  • Don't use profanity, personal attacks or hate speech.
  • Don't promote a business or raise money.
  • When all else fails, think "Golden Rule": Treat others the way you'd like to be treated yourself.

We reserve the right to remove posts that don't follow these guidelines. By clicking submit, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

About this blog
PBS Engage, public broadcasting's social media initiative, and PBS Vote 2008 are finding the best elections content from across public media and our partners and bringing it to you. We're following the campaigns and highlighting in-depth coverage. Feel free to leave a comment, send us an e-mail, or suggest a topic!
Keep in touch with election coverage from PBS and public media. Sign up for our RSS feed.
Recent Comments

Support Provided By: