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White House Turkeys Go Luxe (DCExaminer.com)


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White House turkeys go luxe

By Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin

POSTED November 26, 2008 | 12:05 AM

For the birds

The turkeys that President Bush will pardon this morning sure have it better than their gobbling brethren. Not only does the presidents annual act of largesse mean they get to keep their heads, but also, in advance of their White House visit, they got to stay in high style at the tony Willard InterContinental Hotel.

We went to the Hotel Washington for years, said a spokeswoman for the National Turkey Federation (yes, the turkeys even have their own press flack!). Since it no longer exists, we needed to find a property close to the White House.

And they picked a good spot, arriving Tuesday afternoon to VIP treatment. The two 20-week-old, 45-pound white turkeys were escorted up a red carpet by Willard bellmen, who pushed the birds on a cart through the lobby and up to Room 726. Also chaperoning the birds was NTF Chairman Paul Hill, who had just made the long trip with the birds from Ellsworth, Iowa (the same state where Barack Obama saved his political neck, coincidentally). Hill told us the two turkeys were picked from more than 4,500 candidates. After narrowing it down to an elite 13, the two birds were then picked based on how they walked, the size of their waddle and personality. (The other 11? Theyll be made into a Subway sandwich, Hill said. Ugh.)

Future guests need not worry: The Turkey Suite was sectioned off by baby gates, keeping the birds in the foyer, which was protected with plastic, paper and sawdust. They also wont be sleeping alone their trainer, Peter Gruel, will be staying in the adjoining room.

But while they couldnt sit on the couch, the turkeys did have some perks. Chef Neall Bailey prepared turkey treats for them, made of cracked corn, soybeans, roasted hazelnuts, oats and raisins.

And the birds had better get a good nights sleep, for after their visit to the White House, they will fly first class on United Airlines to Los Angeles, where one of them will be the grand marshal in Thursdays Disneyland Thanksgiving Day Parade.

No word on what they watched on TV in the suite. Our money is on Animal Planet.

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