NBC's Domenico Montanaro breaks down the history of presidents pardoning turkeys at The White House and looks at the future of the Ames Straw Poll and some comments Sen. Marco Rubio made to GQ Magazine.
It's a quiet day on the politics front so far before Thanksgiving tomorrow.
President Obama will be back at the White House today after his trip to Asia. And his first act will be to pardon one of two turkeys. It's become a presidential tradition, but there's been some confusion about its history.
Bill Clinton started the confusion 15 years ago when he declared that Harry Truman was the first president to pardon a turkey. But that's not true. In fact, he was presented a turkey, but most believe he ate it.
The first to actually pardon a Thanksgiving turkey was John F. Kennedy in 1963. The first to formalize turkey pardoning as a tradition at the White House was George H.W. Bush in 1989.
Abraham Lincoln was the first to pardon a turkey. BUT it was a Christmas turkey. It was destined for the Christmas dinner table, but the tale goes that his son took a liking to the bird and Lincoln gave it a reprieve.
And an important note about these pardoned birds. They're bred to be eaten, and they only live an average of two years after the leave the White House.
In other news, unbelievably there are some 2016 rumblings. In Iowa, there's an intra-G-O-P fight. The governor said he thinks the Ames straw poll has run its course. But that annoyed the Iowa GOP chairman, who said the governor is wrong and that it's a party and candidate decision. This is a big fundraiser for the party, which is why the party wants to keep it. Gov. Terry Branstad is worried about keeping Iowa's caucuses relevant.
Jeb Bush Jr. said yesterday he doesn't know if his father will run for president in 20-16, but he hopes he does. And Jeb Bush swatted back at Florida Senator Marco Rubio for his answer about the age of the Earth. Rubio said there was a "dispute" with "theologians" about the age of the Earth. Bush wasn't buying it, calling it a "head-scratching type of answer." And that the GOP has "got to be kind of a pro-science and pro-technology party."