BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- Back from a trip to Asia, President Barack Obama took care of some holiday business, pardoning the national Thanksgiving turkey.

The annual White House ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon in the Rose Garden.

Obama pardoned Cobbler and his alternate, Gobbler.

"The American people have spoken, these birds are moving forward," the president said.

The tradition started in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy became the first president to grant a pardon to a turkey at the White House.

This year, for the first time, the American public got a say in which bird would be the national Thanksgiving turkey by voting on the White House Facebook page.

The decision was between Cobbler and Gobbler, who were born on the same day on a farm in Rockingham County, Va. Obama pardoned two turkeys last year.

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  • US-POLITICS-TURKEY-PARDON

    US President Barack Obama (2nd L) gestures with his daughters Sasha (2nd R) and Malia (R) in the Rose Garden of the White House during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21, 2012 in Washington, DC, as National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen holds Cobbler. Obama pardoned turkeys Cobbler and Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. The turkeys were raised by Craig and Nancy Miller in Rockingham County, Virginia. AFP Photo/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-TURKEY-PARDON-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha (R) arrive for the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21 , 2012 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-TURKEY-PARDON

    US President Barack Obama (2nd L) pets Cobbler with his daughters Sasha (2nd R) and Malia (R) in the Rose Garden of the White House during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21, 2012 in Washington, DC, with National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen (L). Obama pardoned turkeys Cobbler and Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkeys will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. The turkeys were raised by Craig and Nancy Miller in Rockingham County, Virginia. AFP Photo/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-TURKEY-PARDON-OBAMA

    Sasha Obama (2nd R) pets Cobbler as US President Barack Obama (2nd L), her sister Malia (R) and National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen (L) look on during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21 , 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkey will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-TURKEY-PARDON-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama gestures during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon while National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen holds 'Cobbler' on November 21 , 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkey will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-TURKEY-PARDON-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama with his daughters Sasha (2nd R) and Malia (R) take part in the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon as on National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen (L) watches November 21 , 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkey will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-TURKEY-PARDON-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama laughs with his daughter Malia who avoided petting turkey Cobbler as National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen (2nd L) and daugher Sasha look on during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon November 21 , 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Obama pardoned Cobbler and its alternate Gobbler, both raised in Rockingham County, Virginia. The turkey will then spend the rest of the holiday season on display at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)