Obama Girls Spare Life of Thanksgiving Turkey

Obama Girls Spare Life of Thanksgiving Turkey
Barack Obama and daughters Malia (reaching out to Courage the Turkey) and Sasha
Jason Reed/Reuters/Landov

11/25/2009 AT 04:15 PM EST

A turkey named Courage has Malia and Sasha Obama to thank this Thanksgiving.

President Obama announced Wednesday at the White House that he would grant a pardon to the turkey that might otherwise have served as his dinner.

"I was planning to eat this sucker," the President joked.

"Thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha," he said, "Courage will be spared this terrible – and delicious – fate."

Instead, the turkey, delivered to the White House by the National Turkey Federation, will be going to Disneyland, where he'll be grand marshal of tomorrow's Thanksgiving parade!

President Obama isn't the first president to pardon poultry. Twenty years ago, he said, "the first President Bush issued the first official presidential pardon for a turkey." President Kennedy also opted not to eat the bird delivered to the White House.

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