MINNEAPOLIS — As the campaign trail heats up going into the 2024 presidential primaries, there’s no candidate flub so small that it hasn’t been picked apart by pundits like so many dinner rolls being passed around the Thanksgiving dinner table.
That goes double when the slip of the tongue undersells our beloved and quite exceptional state of Minnesota.
This week, President Joe Biden, thereby saving them from appearing on someone’s holiday spread. This year’s candidates for clemency were Liberty and Bell, two male gobblers, both about 20 weeks old and about 42 pounds, who were . The pardoning went fine; the remarks, however, included one goof many in Minnesota were quick to jump on.
“Even though Liberty and Bell are from Minnesota, they’re named for a famous Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania. These birds have a new appreciation of the word, ‘let freedom ring,'” Biden said. “I’m told by the Turkey Federation of Liberty Bell, and Liberty and Bell, they love Honeycrisp apples — not bad, huh — ice hockey — I sure in hell would like to see them play ice hockey — 1,000 lakes, and the Mall of America.”
For what it’s worth, the White House transcript corrected the figure to 10,000 lakes. While it would seem that the president undercut the number of lakes in Minnesota by 9.000, the reality is that most Minnesotans undercut the figure as well, as there are officially about 11,840 lakes in the state.
This isn’t the first time Minnesotans’ accomplishments have been marginalized on the cusp of the Turkey Day holiday. Infamously, the New York Times once posited that, despite it being something no one in Minnesota had ever heard of up to that point.
Biden isn’t the only 2024 hopeful to get a Midwest detail incorrect in recent campaign events. While making one of his multiple recent stops in Iowa, former President Donald Trump said that there was “no way” Iowa would vote against him,.
“I go around saying of course we’re going to win Iowa. My people said you cannot assume that,” Trump told his audience in the ornate Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa. “Hello to a place where we’ve done very well, Sioux Falls. Thank you very much.”
He corrected himself a few minutes later.
Having celebrated a birthday on the same day that he pardoned the turkeys Liberty and Bell, Biden is now 81. Trump is 77. Trump was the oldest person elected to a first term until Biden was.
Turkey pardoning is a tradition that, depending on who provides your research, goes back either to the opening stages of the Cold War and President Harry S. Truman … or merely back to the year of Taylor Swift’s birth and President George H.W. Bush. In either case, it’s usually a genial layup of a photo op no matter who’s in office, and marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Washington D.C.
Minnesota is the top producer of turkeys in the U.S. Jennie-O, which is based in Willmar, is owned by Hormel Foods.