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WASHINGTON Barack Obama pardoned his last turkey as U.S. president on Wednesday, but his daughters should beware: he plans to continue the tradition as a private citizen.

Obama, who leaves office in January, has followed the annual tradition of “pardoning” a turkey every year ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday, which many Americans celebrate with a turkey dinner.

His daughters, Malia and Sasha, often join their father for the tongue-in-cheek Rose Garden Ceremony.

Not this year.

“Of course, Thanksgiving is a family holiday as much as a national one. So for the past seven years, I’ve established another tradition: embarrassing my daughters with a corny-copia of Dad jokes about turkeys,” Obama said.

“This year they had a scheduling conflict,” he deadpanned.

The president was joined in the Rose Garden by his nephews instead. He joked that he planned to keep up the tradition during his post presidency.

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After finishing his remarks, filled with puns, the president blessed a 40-pound (18-kg) fowl from Iowa, granting it a long life and a pardon from appearing on an American dinner table. A backup turkey also had its life spared. Their names: “Tot” and “Tater.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Alexa Spencer; Editing by Alan Crosby)


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