WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama on Wednesday re-took his oath of office after Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed while delivering it at Tuesday's inauguration.
As he did Tuesday, Roberts asked the president if he was ready to take the oath, this time in the White House Map Room instead of the Capitol steps.
"I am," Obama replied, "and we're going to take it very slowly."
The 35-word oath took 25 seconds. The bobbled oath on Tuesday took 30 seconds.
The move was aimed at dispelling any confusion that might arise from Tuesday's take, and erase any question that Obama is legally the president.
"We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday," said White House Counsel Greg Craig in a statement. "But the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of an abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time."
Obama, waiting on a couch for the ceremony to begin, joked that "we decided it was so much fun ... "
After a flawless recitation, Roberts smiled and said, "Congratulations again."
"Thank you, sir," the president replied, and then, after a smattering of applause, quipped that "the bad news for the (press) pool is there's 12 more balls."
Roberts made no comment on becoming tongue-tied Tuesday, but it set tongues wagging.
The oath, as most oaths are, is administered by the one administering it breaking it into phrases that are repeated by the official being sworn in.
Roberts, apparently working without a copy of the oath handy, started out by reciting a six-word phrase, but Obama broke in halfway through and repeated the first three.
That seemed to throw the chief justice off stride, and he proceeded to mix up the order of the words in the next phrase.
The Constitution sets out the language that should be used in the oath: "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."
Roberts moved the word "faithfully" back nine spots, and used "to" instead of "of." That threw the president off base, and he smiled and paused to collect his thoughts, then decided to follow Roberts' lead.
But the chief justice at the same time attempted to correct himself.
Here's how it went:
Roberts: ... that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully ...
Obama: ... that I will execute ...
Roberts: ... the off - faithfully the pres - the office of president of the United States ...
Obama (at the same time): ... the office of president of the United States faithfully ...
The two got the rest correct, including the non-obligatory "So help you God?" "So help me God."
Reporters, bloggers, and others weighed in. The New York Post offered this headline: "Roberts is the Oaf of Office."
A Washington Post reader complained in a letter to the editor, "What could have been a moment for the ages was marred by Mr. Roberts' thoughtlessness. News outlets will report that the first words of our new president were "confused." Whether through design or an amazing lack of preparation, Justice Roberts's behavior was a disgrace."
And Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said, "We're wondering here whether or not Barack Obama in fact is the president of the United States. They had a kind of garbled oath. It's just conceivable that this will end up going to the courts."
The always-playful legal Web site Above the Law asked readers to answer an online poll. About 48 percent blamed Roberts, just 17 percent blame Obama, and 35 percent said yes to the statement, "They both sucked."
In a congressional luncheon after the swear-in Roberts and Obama exchanged words, and the chief justice appeared to tell the president, "It was my fault."
Mistakes do happen, even in the most meticulously prepared of events.
During the 1941 swear-in, nerves apparently got to then-Supreme Court clerk Elmore Leonard who held the Bible for President Franklin Roosevelt (wives of the president did not have that honor as they do now). After Roosevelt completed the oath, Leonard dropped the book.
No hard feelings were expressed by the president. In fact, when Vice President Joseph Biden joked about the Roberts mix-up at a Wednesday swear-in of White House officials, Obama refused to smile or laugh as others did. His stern expression betrayed his lack of amusement at Roberts' expense.
Take heart, Mr. Chief Justice. You may have many more inaugurals in the future to get it right.
- CNN Supreme Court producer Bill Mears contributed to this report.
(updated 8:30 pm with additional information)