Pardon: Just days before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy decided against dining on the majestic 55-pound bird that was presented to him at the White House on Thanksgiving Day, in what would become the first of many turkeys to be spared in Presidential history. The turkey was returned home and allowed to live out its days on the farm. Although Mr. Wattle's whereabouts remained unconfirmed on the day that Kennedy was killed, we have no reason to believe that he had anything to do with the President's assassination.
Pardon: Nixon had a large selection of turkeys to pardon in 1970, but in the end, chose a 43-pound Broad Breasted White Tom named Murphy. Murphy had been linked to several major players in the Irish mob and was a known associate of Boston's Winter Hill gang. Although he'd been accused of numerous crimes without conviction, it wasn't until 1968, at the age of 7, that Murphy took the fall for a string of murders committed in Charlestown, MA. The evidence against Murphy was spotty at best and Nixon felt that Murphy had been wrongly accused and used his pardon to save the turkey from death row. Murphy died of natural causes that December.
Pardon: Ronald Reagan was the first President to issue an official Presidential pardon for a turkey named Charlie in 1987. Charlie was pardoned for his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair in which he worked as the liaison between the Israeli and Iranian arms exchange. It was the President's hope that pardoning the bird would somehow take a little of the media attention and political heat off of Oliver North in regards to his role in the affair.
Pardon: Antonio, a 46-pound White Holland native of Saltillo, Mexico had immigrated to the United Sates in search of a better life for his flock. Although he never legally obtained citizenship, he became a leader among the migrant turkey community and a shining example of hard work and determination. Bush was so impressed that Antonio had made his way from a poor chick in rural Mexico to becoming the official Thanksgiving turkey selected for the White House that he pardoned Antonio, granted him full citizenship, and made him the official ambassador to the U.S. regarding all foreign poultry policies.
Pardon: While Clinton was in office he granted pardons and clemency to 456 people and several lucky turkeys. Perhaps the luckiest of these was a bird named Jerry. After a rough upbringing as the product of a single hen, Jerry had gotten into some trouble early in life and fell in with the wrong flock. His record included breaking and entering, petty theft, arson, several DUI's, armed robbery and eventually a manslaughter charge. After getting out of jail and straightening himself out a bit, Jerry was caught with over 6 kilos of cocaine in Providence, Rhode Island. Clinton had a soft spot for the bird and issued him an official pardon on Thanksgiving Day 2000. Also, Clinton preferred Macdonald's chicken nuggets to turkey.
7. Freedom and backup turkey Liberty
President: George W Bush
Turkey: Freedom and backup turkey Liberty
Pardon: During the first Thanksgiving of the Bush administration and in the wake of the horrific 9/11 attacks, President Bush received two official White House turkeys and named them Freedom and Liberty. Bush, unaware of the tradition of his newly held office, issued an official pardon for each of the birds and then went ahead and cooked them and served them to members of the U.S. Military. Freedom never tasted so good!
Pardon: In 2012 President Barack Obama was set to pardon the two White House turkeys Cobbler and Gobbler, a pair of 40-pound hens from Rockingham County, Virginia, but the Republican Congress, in an odd, yet divisive power move, blocked the President's ability to issue the pardon and the birds were shot with high powered semi-automatic rifles, cooked, and eaten by the GOP congressmen.