Obama Retakes Oath — Just to Be SurePresident Obama hauled Chief Justice Roberts in to readminister the presidential oath to compensate for having screwed it up the first time.
Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath to Obama on Wednesday night at the White House — a rare do-over. The surprise moment came in response to Tuesday’s much-noticed stumble, when Roberts got the words of the oath a little off, which prompted Obama to do so, too.
Don’t worry, the White House says: Obama has still been president since noon on Inauguration Day. Nevertheless, Obama and Roberts went through the drill again out of what White House counsel Greg Craig called “an abundance of caution.”
This time, the scene was the White House Map Room in front of a small group of reporters, not the Capitol platform before the whole watching world. “We decided that because it was so much fun …,” Obama joked to reporters who followed press secretary Robert Gibbs into the room. No TV camera crews or news photographers were allowed in. A few of Obama’s closest aides were there, along with a White House photographer.
Roberts put on his black robe. “Are you ready to take the oath?” he said.
“Yes, I am,” Obama said. “And we’re going to do it very slowly.”
Roberts then led Obama through the oath without any missteps.
There’s no harm in repeating the process to avoid any controversy. And it appears that the president and chief justice handled it with appropriate good humor. And, no, it wasn’t the first time:
The Constitution is clear about the exact wording of the oath and as a result, some constitutional experts have said that a do-over probably wasn’t necessary but also couldn’t hurt. Two other previous presidents have repeated the oath because of similar issues, Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.
Let’s hope Obama lives up to the standards of those two distinguished presidents.
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