January 28th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
4 years ago

Biden apologizes to Roberts for oath of office joke

Biden couldn't pass up poking fun at Chief Justice Roberts last week.

Biden couldn't pass up poking fun at Chief Justice Roberts last week.

(CNN) — An aide to Vice President Joe Biden tells CNN he called Chief Justice John Roberts last week to apologize for a light-hearted remark he made over the flubbed Inauguration Day oath of office.

"My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts, Chief Justice Roberts," Biden said last Wednesday, as he asked for a copy of the oath he was using to swear in senior members of the White House staff.

Several staffers reacted to the comment with groans and laughter, though President Obama, standing next to Biden, did not crack a smile.

An aide to the vice president said Tuesday the two men spoke privately after that comment. “They spoke and had a good conversation,” said the aide, who declined to give further details.

Roberts' mistake came about half way through the 35-word oath, when, reciting from memory, he said the word 'faithfully,' out of order. The flub confused Obama who ultimately repeated the mistake.

Meanwhile, Biden has been selected to handle the administration’s first foreign trip. The White House said Tuesday the vice president will travel to Germany next week with retired Gen. James Jones, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

Biden will represent the United States at the Wehrkunde, the annual security policy conference held in Munich.

–CNN's Ed Henry contributed to this report

Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (609 Responses)
  1. Griff

    Squabalish? I suggest you learn to live with One-Another...

    January 27, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Erik S.

    Empty suit. It's funny, you go from a Vice President that held vice presidential power to one who is going to have less say and influence than an intern, and from his "jokes" that might be a good thing.

    January 27, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Shirley in California

    He and his wife both acted very foolishly during the inauguration. Please VP Biden think BEFORE you speak.

    January 27, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. BB

    CNNs Ed Henry has nothing to discuss. We already knew this. Just ranting on again Ed?

    No wars? No soldiers killed? No jobs lost? No one homeless or hungry?

    Gee – no news. How great (sarcasm).

    January 27, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. BJ

    I don't find Joe Biden to be very profession. Of course he can hold back the words and not have to apologize later. Some things are meant to joke about in your own home but not at work, especially when you are VP.

    January 27, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. Mark

    Joe is a JOKE.... I hope Obama can controll him and his big mouth.

    January 27, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. hello

    Good for you Joe,even though it was only in good fun, maybe not good timing.

    January 27, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. James

    Instead of having to apologize every day, Biden should try to do what for him is impossible: STAY ON MESSAGE and avoid comments on anything else. John Roberts merely showed that everyone is human, even the Chief Justice. Everyone makes mistakes, but harping on them will just give the media an excuse to focus on that instead of the real issues. Biden is the last person who should be throwing stones. Biden's "jokes" are distracting from the Obama Administration's legislative goals. But unfortunately for American, he can't help himself.

    January 27, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. Dreaming of Justice

    Joe, you jokey jokester!


    January 27, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Mac

    what's the punchline?

    January 27, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. Leza

    Who cares...I mean really. People need to lighten up. Roberts did, in fact, flub the oath. Big deal!! Obama became president at noon according to the constitution regardless of in what order the oath was said. People are so sensitive. It's not like Biden publically humiliated Roberts. I bet Roberts wasn't as "offended" as others, and the joke was about him.

    For goodness sakes....lighten up, and get back to town business.

    January 27, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Remi Murphy

    this lacks importance

    January 27, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  13. BB

    Got a job for you Ed. Did Microsoft bring in more green-card workers and then let Americans go unemployed? FIND OUT SOMETHING

    January 27, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. steve b

    Joe being Joe

    if you like him or not, you had to know getting into this he has history of running off at the mouth.

    January 27, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. Enough

    Wise to apologize & keep working toward peace. Narcissists can't take a joke.

    January 27, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. JR

    Biden is a mouthy guy that will keep hurting Obama. He has a history of saying stupid stuff to hurt and bring down others while trying to feed his ego. Obama knew it when he chose him. He chose him and deserves what he gets with the buffoon.

    January 27, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. Just shut up

    Biden needs to keep his mouth shut. What an idiot.

    January 27, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |

    oh geez..it was a joke..nothing more nothing less.
    I'm tired of people apologizing after saying what they mean..

    January 27, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  19. Matt

    haha, at least he's not stuck apologizing for all the things Bush did wrong like Obama

    January 27, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. Vero

    I don't think Mr. Biden meant it in a bad way. Alot of people say things and people take it different. Obama was just being more serious which was okay too. Good Luck to both of them.

    January 27, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Linda

    Vice President Biden,
    We are so lucky that you are our Vice President. You know it could have been Sarah Palin or another. From your years of experience and knowledge of foreign policy you know that the planet is extremely vulnerble to the severe and dangerous impacts of unresolved and escalating conflicts, immaturities, and misunderstandings In Israel, Palestine, the entire middle east, Russia, and China. You know that often distrust and failure to talk and negotiate result from tacit insults and injuries, sometimes simply because of linguistic or cultural differences. You are a most mature person who managed to serve as a senator while being a single parent. Your intelligence, experience, and wisdom in foreign relations is desparately needed and we rely on you, God forbid, to step in should anything happen to President Obama. You have a proble in making inappropriate jokes and inappropriate remarks...without thinking of the impact and consequences...it it never about a serious matter....usually meant to make a joke or be friendly or personal or get some attention or emotional support, but it is inappropriate because it may insult and hurt someone's feelings or be misinterpreted undermining your power and respect. Please analyze why you do this and try to stop. It can be dangereous and damaging and is baggage you do not need. Thank you

    January 27, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. tigerbiteone

    Biden must be cousins to Blagovevich.

    January 27, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Kim

    Great. A week in office, and he's already stuck his size elevens in his mouth. Not that I expected much else from him. The next 4 years should be pretty interesting.

    January 27, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. California Gold

    Jill Biden opens her mouth on Oprah and shoves both feet inside while her husband grins like a 'possum. Joe Biden opens his mouth on a solemn occasion and shoves both feet inside while grinning like a 'possum. Who says opposites attract.

    January 27, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. Sean Chong

    Why should we be so serious about life? Bush left a void on funny stuffs from the White House, Biden should definitely take over that role, but in a better way.....

    January 27, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25