2012 was a fine year for Cobbler, the turkey. Cobbler, who was raised in Rockingham County, Virginia, was just 19 weeks old when he was named the National Thanksgiving Turkey, earning himself a pardon from the President of the United States on November 21, 2012.
But Cobbler didn't last long. Just months after the passing of his turkey alternate (all pardoned turkeys have an alternate) Gobbler, Cobbler was euthanized on August 22, 2013. Like every single other turkey pardoned by President Barack Obama, Cobbler and Gobbler are no longer among the living. Only one turkey pardoned by the president has lived to see a second Thanksgiving.
Next week, on the day before Thanksgiving, the president will again pardon a National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate, this time from Minnesota. And, if history is precedent, those turkeys have two years left at best. Here the Star Tribune has a look at some possible turkeys that are gonna die soon.
So what's the deal? Is Obama casting death spells on these poor birds? Well, no. At least if his predecessor's luck with turkeys is any guide.
John Stossel wrote about George W. Bush's bad luck with Thanksgiving turkeys for ABC, after Bush made the claim that his two pardoned turkeys would "live out their days" in comfort and care. Stossel did the journalistic heavy-lifting and went to the turkey farm where Bush sent his pardoned turkeys. The Virginia farmer told Stossel that "we usually just find 'em and they're dead."