Chief Justice Stumbles Giving Presidential Oath For First Time

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Perhaps it can be dismissed as a rookie mistake.

Chief Justice John Roberts swore in Barack Obama as president of the United States this afternoon, but not without a stumble.

As Roberts administered the presidential oath of office for the first time, Obama paused abruptly after the chief justice reversed some words.

The oath 35-word oath reads in part, "I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States." But initially dropped out the word "faithfully," then added it at the end of the phrase. Obama's delay allowed Roberts to repeat the phrase correctly, but Obama repeated Roberts' original, but incorrect version.

Later, as the two men shook hands in the Capitol, Roberts appeared to say the mistake was his fault.

Obama didn't finish taking the oath until 12:05 p.m. That was five minutes after he actually became president under the Constitution.


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