Biden pokes fun at chief justice’s verbal gaffe

January 21, 2009

Everybody is waiting for Joe Biden, U.S. President Barack Obama’s genial but gaffe-prone vice president, to trip up and put his foot in his mouth. But in the end, the gaffe that everybody was talking about on Wednesday was not his, but the verbal fumble by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts accidentally switched the word order when he administered the presidential oath of office to Obama on the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday. Obama had appeared to jump the gun in cutting off Roberts as he administered the first part of the oath. Perhaps, momentarily confused by that, Roberts then asked Obama to recite, “I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully,” instead of, “I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.” obama-robertsWhile Obama later sought to play it down, Biden appeared to delight in the gaffe.”My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts’,” he joked during a swearing-in ceremony of senior White House staff on Wednesday, drawing laughter and mock boos from the audience. Obama was more charitable, telling ABC television in an interview that both he and Roberts had had a lot on their mind during the swearing-in. “He actually helped me out on a couple of stanzas there. So over all, I think it went relatively smoothly and I’m very grateful to him.”Click here for more Reuters political coverage.   – Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama sworn in as president by Roberts on Jan. 20)     


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What one can expect from a Chief Justice, who was an appointee of Dubiya, the last rank student and the last rank President.

Posted by JOHN DAHODI | Report as abusive

Along with millions around the Globe, me and my family was also thrilled and enjoyed the historical inaugration event of the first American black President. However, being an American Muslim, I was less happier to hear Obama and his mind. He did say two sentences for 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe, one in the voice of George Bush and the other in the tune of phony Israeli Peace Makers. Like Israeli leaders, he also put condition for the Muslims for any better treatment from him. We 5 million Muslims of this Nation has mostly voted for him similarly we had voted for George Bush for his first term to get just, fair and humane treatment from the American President. We had miserably failed one time and do not want to fail again. Even though Obama is heavily guarded by Zionism leaning staff, we still hope that he will develop courage to standup for human rights, human values and human dignity of Muslims around the world in general and Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghanistinis and Kashmiris in particular, not only to make America lovable and compassionate, but just and fair in the Muslim minds and Muslim worlds. Muslims have reasons to hate America and it is Obama, who can correct their minds not by giving lectures and speeches but by deeds. We are waiting for the right begining from the new White House, sooner is better.

Posted by john dahodi | Report as abusive

I am glad that President Obama had the maturity not to engage in, even for a little laugh, poking fun at the minor gaffe of Justice Roberts.

Posted by Mary | Report as abusive

This is ridiculous. What a spin! The press still trying to cover Obama’s butt. Roberts didn’t flub….Obama did. Obama didn’t follow and Roberts rephrased his words so Obama could follow. Watch it.

Posted by Correction | Report as abusive

Let’s not make a big deal of this–any of this–folks.roberts was human, Biden was having a little fun. Western civiliation, such as it is, will ocntinue.

Posted by John Q | Report as abusive

If you watch the video, Obama is clearly annoyed and disapproving of Biden’s joke. If Biden stays true to form (and this incident seems to indicate that he will), I see Obama going with a different VP next term. He only picked Biden in the first place to lend an air of Washington experience to his campaign image anyway.

Posted by pj | Report as abusive

so much for peace love and understanding… and reaching across the aisle

Posted by bobby | Report as abusive

Justice Roberts put the word faithfully at the end of the sentence with “execute”, at which point President Obama, realizing he made a mistake, gave him a chance to correct himself, but then made an executive decision to repeat the phrase as the Justice put it to move along. The Justice knew it and admitted as much afterward.

Posted by TR | Report as abusive

I guess it is a slow news day.

Posted by Idaho Bob | Report as abusive

Hey John Dahodi,Right of the bat with your anti-christian anti west anti Obama ilk.It is clear that the Muslims around the world and here in the US, hate the west and America.The people of the US will recognize this soon enough and understand that the Muslim agenda is to conquer the world and return it to the 1oth century.

Posted by Ron Pogatchnik | Report as abusive

I did watch it, as it was happening. Roberts screwed up by first not letting Obama finish repeating the part of the oath Roberts had just recited, then Obama realizing Roberts had misquoted the oath gave him a chance to repeat it correctly, but instead Roberts just plowed on ahead. Doesn’t matter though since they redid it in the White House later correctly, and besides the office changed hands at noon regardless of the oath. Get over it; move on.

Posted by jimbo | Report as abusive

Sorry “Correction” to your”This is ridiculous. What a spin! The press still trying to cover Obama’s butt. Roberts didn’t flub….Obama did. Obama didn’t follow and Roberts rephrased his words so Obama could follow. Watch it.”Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution is pretty clear:Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office ofPresident of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve,protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”Roberts got the words wrong, Obama tried to gracefully correct it. With all the ills in the world, this is a non-story.

Posted by gv | Report as abusive

before the “faithfully” mixup, obama was stepping on roberts’ lines. he did it not once, but twice. he was speaking before roberts finished giving him the line. any moron can see this in the video, and obama himself noted it later. obama probably did it nervously. i guess if one wanted to engage in the kind of groundless speculation being engaged in here about roberts, one could speculate that obama’s ego is so huge and he was so eager to become the Big P that he couldn’t contain himself, but to me he looked more like a nervous, inept groom at a wedding. regardless, this much is certain—he threw roberts off. roberts then flubbed the word order in the “faithfully” sentence and the rest followed from there. it is fascinating that with all of the projection as to roberts—stupidty, bad motives, god knows what fantasies being attributed to the guy, no one even sees that obama set this off, and CERTAINLY no one is making up explanations for obama stepping on roberts’ lines—as well they shouldn’t. by the same token, the fantasies being thrown around about roberts are inappropriate.

Posted by ceemonster | Report as abusive

To Correction:”This is ridiculous. What a spin! The press still trying to cover Obama’s butt. Roberts didn’t flub….Obama did. Obama didn’t follow and Roberts rephrased his words so Obama could follow. Watch it.”You should look at the wording of the Constitution before saying who flubbed it. The press isn’t trying to cover anyone’s butt. As far as I can tell, Roberts made 3 mistake while reciting the oath to Obama. 1) Misplaced of the word “faithfully”. 2)”of the United States” not “to the United States”. 3)”So help me God.” not “So help you God?”It was a human moment for both.. the media is taking it too far because they want a story out of it

Posted by cloud | Report as abusive

“He didn’t take the oath right!” “He’s not a citizen!” “I voted for McCain so I’m not happy about anything he does” Wah wah wah cry cry cry. What a load of BS. The malcontents on the right are looking for any excuse to bring Obama down while at the same time getting upset if we criticize the proven lier George Bush. Sour grapes?

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Did anyone here read the headline of the story. It is not about Chief Justice Roberts (who is probably one of the most intelligent Justices on the Court) or about Obama (who I am willing to give him time to do something good in office). It is about the nitwit Biden who had the nerve to laugh at an honest mistake on the part of BOTH gentlemen. Biden who cannot say two sentences without screwing up. It seems to me that one who lives in a glass house should not cast stones least it come back to bite him in the butt.

Posted by Sun | Report as abusive

Every time I see or hear President Obama my faith in his character and abilities is affirmed– as it was seeing his reaction to Biden’s not-so-funny poke at the Justice. Obama should not be held responsible for the embarrasing booing of supporters re: Bush and Cheney’s good byes– but he will have to control Biden. My biggest insecurity was Biden and is still is — this man is even suspected of plagiarism — how dare he criticize a brilliant man such as Supreme Court Justice Roberts?– not funny! and I believe the President already gave him that message. Whether the President will be able to control this “Foot in Mouth” person, we will have to see.

Posted by Lillian | Report as abusive

It will be interesting when Biden is let out in public to see what unfortunate things he will say in public. He is the Dan Quayle of the democratic party. The cast has been set and the media will be looking for him to slip up.I tend to agree with someone who said Biden may only be a one term vice president, by not being asked to stay with the ticket in 2012. But who knows, maybe he will get his act together, but with a history of making ignorant statements I really doubt it.And no, I do not blame Obama for Biden’s remarks. In the video, Obama is clearly annoyed at what Biden said. No one would be able to control his out of control mouth.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

yes when the dems set up the stem cell centers with the bail out money,biden going to end up in one with all his stem cells sucked out.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Well, 6 years in and Obama did execute the office of the president, with incompetence and bumbling such has not been seen before.

Posted by whatsnew | Report as abusive