"For the record, It feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November," Obama said Wednesday, referring to the drubbing Democrats received in the Nov 2 midterm elections.
Saying the presidential pardon was an "awesome responsibility," Obama said Apple and his stand-in Cider scratched their way to the Rose Garden ceremony, beating out about 20,000 feathered competitors.
He called the competition, which included the birds "strutting their stuff" to an eclectic music mix, "a turkey version of 'Dancing with the Stars.'"
"Except the stakes for the contestants are much higher," Obama chuckled. "Only one pair would survive and win the big prize -- life."
After "living it up on corn" at a Washington-area W Hotel, Obama said, Apple and Cider will spend the rest of their natural lives at Mount Vernon, Va.
"You are hereby pardoned from the Thanksgiving dinner table," Obama said "May you have a wonderful and joyful life in Mount Vernon."
Once at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, the pair of 45-pound, 21-week-old birds will be on display during "Christmas at Mount Vernon" through Jan. 6, 2011, then live in a "custom-made enclosure" at Mount Vernon's livestock facility, the White House said.
On a serious note, Obama noted the Thanksgiving holiday was a time to be "thankful for what we have ... and be generous for those who have less."
Obama said he and his family were delivering two turkeys to Martha's Table, a Washington-area organization "that does extraordinary work helping folks who are struggling."
After wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving, Obama said he was grateful to America's military serving "bravely and selflessly" throughout the world.
A small group of demonstrators in central London turned violent, Sky News reported. They surrounded a police van, trying to turn it over, as other students moved in and tried to stop them.
"I didn't want other people to get injured -- people don't realize that when you rock a van it can fall over," Zoe Williams said. "And the cause we are here for today is not about hating the police."
Protests took place across the United Kingdom from Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland to Cardiff in Wales and Plymouth in southwestern England, the BBC said. Students at the two most celebrated universities, Oxford and Cambridge, joined in.
Some secondary school students walked out of class for the day.
The coalition government has proposed increasing fees to as much as 9,000 pounds ($14,000) a year.
Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, urged students to take a second look at the plan, which ties fees to income.
"Examine our proposals before taking to the streets. Listen and look before you march and shout," Clegg said.