oath.jpgAs we type this, our fingers are still thawing from standing in the cold on the National Mall during today’s inauguration. The number of people willing to brave the cold was impressive. Every time President Barack Obama appeared on a jumbotron screen, the crowd went crazy with shouts of “O-bam-a” and “Yes, we did.”

The crowd quieted down in order to hear Obama take the oath of office. But what followed was a bit confusing. SCOTUS Chief Justice and now-President Barack Obama appeared to be talking over one another. In the crowd, people started asking, “Who screwed it up?”

MSNBC.com reports that Roberts is to blame:

The Constitution prescribes the text: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

But Chief Justice John Roberts, using no notes, flubbed his lines, and Obama knew it.

First, Obama jumped in before the “do solemnly swear” phrase, which seemed to throw the chief justice off his stride. Roberts rendered the next phrase as “that I will execute the office of President to the United States faithfully.”

“That I will execute,” Obama repeated, then paused like a school teacher prompting his student with a slight nod. Roberts took another shot at it: “The off … faithfully the pres … the office of President of the United States.”

Is there a little pro-Obama bias there? We’re not so sure Roberts is totally to blame. As one ATL commenter says:

First Flub: Obama. Roberts proceeds with the swearing in and Obama jumps the gun before Roberts gets done. Second Flub: Roberts.

Watch the video here. What do you think?

Read the transcript from MSNBC.com, and see our take, after the jump.


The transcript courtesy of MSNBC.com:

ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama…

OBAMA: I, Barack…

ROBERTS: … do solemnly swear…

OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear…

ROBERTS: … that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully…

OBAMA: … that I will execute…

ROBERTS: … faithfully the office of president of the United States…

OBAMA: … the office of president of the United States faithfully…

ROBERTS: … and will to the best of my ability…

OBAMA: … and will to the best of my ability…

ROBERTS: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

OBAMA: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

ROBERTS: So help you God?

OBAMA: So help me God.

ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

Our interpretation. The “first flub” is that Roberts was going to have him say, “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear,” but Obama thought he was going to have him say, “I, Barack Hussein Obama,” and echoed prematurely. That caused Obama to step on the Chief’s line, which threw them off balance for the rest of it.

About That Oath Flub [MSNBC.com]

UPDATE (2:55 p.m.): More chatter in the blogosphere about the slip-up

I Do Solemnly Swear…(Line, Please?) [The Caucus/New York Times]

Remember When Biden Was President? [Washington City Paper]

Oops! A Chief Slipup on the Oath of Office [WSJ Law Blog]


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