Obama Takes Oath of Office

A light moment, as Barack Obama has to have the opening part of the presidential oath repeated to him.

I blame Chief Justice John Roberts for this one:  Everyone who has ever taken or administered an oath of office knows that you feed the nervous oath taker very small bites at a time.  That’s likely especially true when it’s freezing cold and there are a million-odd people watching in person and tens of millions watching on television.

UPDATE: As several commenters note, in addition to the pacing issue, Roberts actually flubbed the words themselves, almost certainly adding to Obama’s confusion. This, as Dave Schuler notes, “should remind all of us that no matter how smart we are, what school we went to, what we’ve accomplished, how high we’ve risen, or how important the occasion might be, we all have the ability to make a mistake and make an idiot out of ourselves.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Blame is settling on Roberts. OTB http://tinyurl.com/9o43np memeorandum http://tinyurl.com/9f55h5

  2. sam says:

    I blame Chief Justice John Roberts for this one

    You should, he got it wrong. The correct oath is:

    “I ___________ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

  3. Triumph says:

    Actually, Hussein’s “transition” is already tainted.

    He violated the 20th amendment.

    According to the 20th amendment, the new president must take the oath by noon. Since he waited until after noon to take the oath, it doesn’t count.

    Bush is still president.

    I credit Cheney. The guy is brilliant. His “injury” required him to sit in a wheelchair. This gambit slowed down the motorcade and the procession through the Capitol, making it impossible for the transition to take place.

    Thank you Cheney for saving us from liberal disaster! May you and the President continue your work for the next four years.

  4. Anderson says:

    Not watching, but at the VC, they say that Roberts did indeed flub it.

    My theory that it was a deliberate trick to prevent Obama’s *actually becoming* president doesn’t seem to’ve caught on, though if he’d repeated the botched oath, we would probably see the usual suspects filing federal lawsuits to have him declared Not Really President.

  5. Triumph says:

    we would probably see the usual suspects filing federal lawsuits to have him declared Not Really President.

    FYI: I have already engaged Norm Coleman’s lawyers to file suit.

  6. After reading this post, I re-wound by TiVo and indeed, Roberts messed up “faithfully execute” saying “execute faithfully” (or something like that), at which point Obama paused to allow Roberts to correct himself.

  7. Bithead says:

    Ehh…. Roberts hasn’t sworn in a presdient before, either. Is he allowed to get nervous?

  8. Franklin says:

    I believe Roberts said, “that I will execute the office of President TO the United States FAITHFULLY” which is a bit different than the correct “that I will FAITHFULLY execute the office of President OF the United States”. I would guess Obama had the correct version memorized, but ended up saying some odd combination.

    Which means he isn’t President, right?

    Also, people usually pause after “I (insert name here),” but Roberts kept going. Over-eager Obama started before Roberts paused.

  9. Hey, Chief Justice Roberts is losing his hair.

  10. SavageView says:

    1. The words are in the Constitution. Perhaps the strict constructionalists ought to read the document on occasion.

    2. The pauses exist for a reason. It is customary to pause at designated points. Perhaps strict constructionalists ought to read history.

    Not surprised that CJ Roberts is given a pass here. One wonders when this site will begin fundraising for the wing-nut lawsuit seeking to invalidate Obama’s inauguration as President.

    I actually agree with sentiments on the lefty blogs that say Obama ought to haul Roberts into the Oval Office to administer the proper oath.

  11. Triumph says:

    I actually agree with sentiments on the lefty blogs that say Obama ought to haul Roberts into the Oval Office to administer the proper oath.

    Since Cheney is still in charge, that’s never going to happen. Sorry.

  12. Franklin says:

    Not surprised that CJ Roberts is given a pass here. One wonders when this site will begin fundraising for the wing-nut lawsuit seeking to invalidate Obama’s inauguration as President.

    Oh, please. This site is relatively moderate overall. Heck, I lean left but enjoy the sometimes spirited debate – something that’s not possible with Freepers or LGFers.

  13. Drew says:

    “Roberts hasn’t sworn in a presdient before, either.”

    Predient? Hey bit, were you nervous when you posted that??

    But seriously folks.

    Its Obama’s now. Let’s wish him well.

    By the way, what was with the racist preacher and incoherent poet?

  14. Triumph says:

    By the way, what was with the racist preacher and incoherent poet?

    Do you mean “President” Obama?

  15. C-Red says:

    In the spirit of pointless debate –

    Cheney stopped being vice president at noon. (amendment 20. section 1)

    If the oath of office being slightly mangled disqualified Obama, then the vice president-elect shall act as president until the president-elect qualifies.(amendment 20. section 3)

    Biden would be in charge

  16. Triumph says:

    In the spirit of pointless debate –

    Yeah, right. I believe that the Roberts court will resolve this correctly once the case gets to the Supremes.

  17. Barry says:

    James, this is a poor start – one hour into the new administration, and you’re blaming Obama for a Republican’s mistake 🙂

  18. MM says:

    Ehh…. Roberts hasn’t sworn in a presdient before, either. Is he allowed to get nervous?

    I graduated from the Bithead school of analyzing my political opponents, where we always assume the best intentions of our allies, and the worst of people with whom we disagree.

    Therefore there can be only two explanations to why the Chief Justice read the oath wrong. Clearly he is either partially illiterate, or he was hoping to create a constitutional crisis by tricking Obama into taking the incorrect oath of office.

  19. Alex Knapp says:

    Two things: 1) Amendment 20 defines the beginning of the President’s term of office as beginning at noon on Jan. 20. A good lawyer could easily argue that the Amendment, by virtue of being an Amendment, trumps the language of Article II.

    2) The oath is only required prior to executing the responsbilities of office, and there is no requirement that it be sworn at a particular date and time. If this were to actually become an issue, all Obama has to do is repeat the oath and he’s done.

    Silly, really.

  20. Drew says:

    “Do you mean “President” Obama?”

    I was jestatakin’ your taking your lead, T. I figured you had engaged the lawyers, and Obama was still just a Senator.

    Right?

  21. Moonbat Boy says:

    This is like soooooooooo important.

  22. G.A.Phillips says:

    “I ___________ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    lol who cares, what does it even matter anymore, game over man, were in some real pretty shit now…………

  23. steve s says:

    Which means he isn’t President, right?

    I am not a lawyer but I’ve had several friends who were, and we’ve talked about these kinds of situations before. They tell me that in the event of a pointless technicality, like the word ‘faithfully’ being in the wrong place here, judges almost never take the stupidly literalist position and invalidate the action. They typically rule according to what all parties generally understood had happened.

    The last conversation I had about this was with a lawyer named Jeff. I’d just heard that some state’s entrance into the union had some niggling technical error. I asked him what the outcome of that could be. Would a judge rule that the state (sorry I forget which)was no longer part of the US? Jeff explained that if they thought they joined the union 100 years ago or whenever, and for 100 years everyone’s behaved as if they were in the union, then no judge would radically change that just because of some silly paperwork error.

  24. steve s says:

    FWIW I don’t think Roberts should beat himself up about flubbing the line twice. Stress makes us botch things sometimes. No harm.

  25. James Joyner says:

    FWIW I don’t think Roberts should beat himself up about flubbing the line twice. Stress makes us botch things sometimes. No harm.

    Completely agree. It was a light moment of humanity intervening in a solemn occasion. Noteworthy, I thought, but not otherwise a big deal.

  26. steve s says:

    If 100 million Americans were watching me live, and an historic president was staring at me from a distance of 3 feet, I’d probably be sweating and shaking so hard they’d hospitalize me 🙂

  27. Triumph says:

    If 100 million Americans were watching me live, and an historic president was staring at me from a distance of 3 feet, I’d probably be sweating and shaking so hard they’d hospitalize me 🙂

    Thanks for your comment, Senator Kennedy.

  28. Eric says:

    lol who cares, what does it even matter anymore, game over man, were in some real pretty shit now…………

    Right. Forget about that pile of shit we’ve been sitting in for the past 7 years. No, it’s the pile of shit that G.A. *thinks* might happen that’s much worse.

    Boy, nothing like conservative collective amnesia.

  29. steve s says:

    The thing I like about your fake wingnuttery, Triumph, is the humor. You’re like what bithead would be, if he was funny.

  30. randallinoklahoma says:

    I can understand the new president being nervous, and I’m sure the news media will forgive him quickly. I wonder how quickly the media would have forgiven a republican for the same mistake? I did not vote for President Obama, but he has my support. I’m proud of the way he handled today. I’m not proud of the way some people booed the former president and his wife.

  31. rodney dill says:

    I, for one, welcome our new Pres’ent ‘Bama.

  32. G.A.Phillips says:

    Right. Forget about that pile of shit we’ve been sitting in for the past 7 years. No, it’s the pile of shit that G.A. *thinks* might happen that’s much worse.

    like what? liberals traitors undermining the war effort and getting our troops killed, or liberals ruining the housing market with their fanny pack and mack some loot bank, or the way they took over two years ago and the greatest economy in the history of the world collapsed lol gas went up 2 dolor a gallon just by their mer presence, or the way they bought and stoled a presidential election right at the and the same pooping time. Dude Why? your saying it’s going to get better now that the agnostic fools are in full control LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!

    Oh and your dear leader’s post election grace period is over and he has had 1/2 day to fix everything, but he partied all night instead, so I officialy have taken off my anti typing gloves and it’s on.

    time to once again call out the American’s in name only crowd.

  33. Jason says:

    What is instead of pausing at the inauguration, President Obama just said “Don’t Roberts Me, Chief!