Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Flubbing the Oath: UPDATED

According to Jeffrey Toobin, it was Chief Justice John Roberts who flubbed the oath, and Obama's hesitance was a reaction to Roberts's mistake.

If you watch the video with this in mind, you can see Obama's amusement, followed by his decision to go ahead and say it Roberts's way.


According to the Huffington Post, Obama and Roberts re-did the oath on Wednesday night, just to be sure.

Craig, the White House lawyer, said in a statement Wednesday evening: "We believe the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday. Yet the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of the abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath a second 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.


meyermeyer said...

NPR this morning talked about how Obama, caught between the right thing and the polite thing, eventually chose, as you pointed out, the polite thing. But they also reminded listeners that Roberts was an appointment that Obama resisted, that Obama has taken positions directly opposed to Roberts' judgments... and still they fought to be the more polite--Roberts restating the oath correctly and Obama deferring to Roberts' wording.

Disagreeing politely, with deferrence to one's inherent human flaws and ignoring them even as others look on--I wonder how Bush might have responded. Certainly not as gracefully or with as much good humor (remember the Bush sneer?) Sets a nice tone for a new presidency, don't you think?

framiko said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.

But do you think Bush would have even noticed the slightly altered wording?