Sasha and Malia Obama Smile as Dad Talks Turkey

President Obama got a few solid laughs out of the First Daughters this year.

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Sasha and Malia Obama have been accused by pundits in the media of not necessarily enjoying their annual role of backing up their dad during his pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey—but the 2015 event seemed to evoke a generally positive reaction from the First Daughters, at least when superficially compared to the 2014 pardon ceremony.

Said President Obama during the 2015 pardon event on Wednesday:” I am going to publically thank Malia and Sasha, for once again standing here with me during the Turkey Pardon. They do this solely…because it makes me feel good. Not because they actually think that this is something I should be doing…and, you know, as you get older, you appreciate when your kids just indulge you like this.”

This comment may have been inspired by the brief media hiccup in 2014 when the President’s daughters seemed less than charmed by the skit. The pair’s lack of smiling didn’t go unnoticed in the press, but it was a Facebook post by Elizabeth Lauten—at the time a communications director for U.S. Representative Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn)—that was deemed especially controversial:

A Facebook posting by Elizabeth Lauten, criticizing Sasha and Malia Obama's demeanor during the 2014 pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey.


Lauten resigned following a backlash of criticism.

Nevertheless—whether consciously acting in response to the 2014 media kerfuffle or not even considering if the world audience would be passing judgement—Sasha and Malia Obama seemed to be just fine with the jokes and frivolity delivered by their pop as he gave this year’s exculpated bird freedom from a culinary fate.

“It is hard to believe this is my seventh year of pardoning a turkey,” President Obama said at one point, “time flies…even if turkeys don’t.” He then looked to his daughters, who both laughed, and Malia even added, “That was good…that was good.”

(L-R) Sasha, Barack and Malia Obama take part in the 2015 pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony.

White House / Via