The Food Corner

President George W. Bush's surprise surprise trip to visit the troops in Baghdad, Iraq on Thankgiving 2003 made the headlines.  "I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere," Bush quipped.  One of the dominant images from the trip, which made the front pages of many papers, showed the smiling Bush wearing a grey Army jacket, surrounded by soldiers and holding a platter with a perfectly browned turkey.

The Washington Post reported on December 4, 2003 that Bush had actually picked up a decorative turkey from the end of the serving line when the photographer (AP's Pablo Martinez Monsivais) took the picture.  Critics seized on this; the DNC posted an entry in its "Kicking Ass" blog asking, "Was Bush's Thanksgiving turkey, in fact, a canard?"  The posting even suggested that, "The turkey prop itself was, in all likelihood, provided by Halliburton.  The entry generated 42 responses.  Doonesbury's December 8-13, 2003 strips focused on Bush's visit; the strip of December 12 suggested it was for "...a campaign replace the unusable flight suit footage."  Months later, in mid-2004, Talking Presidents, an Irvine, Calif. company, was selling a "Turkey Dinner George W. Bush" action figure in a limited edition of 5,000 (the 12-inch doll cost $34.99 plus shipping and handling).

Mike Allen.  "The Bird Was Perfect But Not For Dinner: In Iraq Picture, Bush Is Holding the Centerpiece" Washington Post, December 4, 2003.