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All grown up: poised Malia Obama is the mirror image of stylish mum Michelle

25 NOVEMBER 2010

When Malia Obama was photographed alongside her father at his presidential inauguration in January 2009, she was a fresh-faced ten-year-old child.

Pictured by her dad's side during a rose garden ceremony at the White House this week, that same little girl had transformed into a poised and elegant young woman.

Now a statuesque 12-year-old, Malia is showing an uncanny resemblance to her stylish mum Michelle.

And she appeared calm and considered as she made an appearance with younger sister Sasha as one of Mr Obama's "two trusty assistants" at the annual pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey.

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To laughter from the crowd, the president looked to be enjoying a respite from the political sphere.

"Before everyone heads home for Thanksgiving, there is one official duty I am sworn to uphold as leader of the most powerful nation on earth," he said.

"And today I have the awesome responsibility of granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys."

This year's turkey, which came from a ranch in Modesto, California, was named Apple, and a back-up bird named Cider was also brought along. Their names were chosen from more than 200 suggestions by California schoolchildren, a White House statement said.

Both will spend the rest of their days on the grounds of Mount Vernon – George Washington's Virginia estate.

According to the chairman of the National Turkey Federation, they were "picks of the litter" from a "presidential flock" of 25 that hatched in July.

The selection process, which included a beauty pageant, was described by the president as "a turkey version of Dancing with the Stars."

"Except the stakes for the contestants were much higher," he added. "Only one pair win the prize: life, and an all-expenses trip to Washington."

The tradition of the president receiving a national Thanksgiving turkey began in 1947 with Harry Truman, and the first official presidential pardon was given in 1989 by George Bush senior.

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