January 28th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
11 months 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. Cath in VA

    Look, Roberts apologized for screwing up the oath the first time, and he did a do-over. Biden apologized for his crack. Okay, it's over. Can we move on and FIX THIS MESS that the country is in?

    January 27, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. Lisa B

    I'm pretty sure Justice Roberts has a better sense of humor than the person who thought Biden should apologize. The last thing I want to see is Obama-Biden start tip toeing around people. There is no need to apologize for telling it like it is or telling a joke if it is not insensitive to others. I'm pretty sure Justice Roberts can take the heat of his flub without crying.

    January 27, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Debbie

    I don't know why he felt he had to apologize. Before it came out that Roberts was responsible for the flub, the wingnuts were ALL OVER this, blaming Obama for the mistake. Roberts didn't apologize to Obama for screwing up this historic moment, did he?

    January 27, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  4. over it

    we seem to be so concerned with a "culture of nice-ness"...it was a joke, get over it!

    January 27, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  5. Sarah

    When did we all get so SENSITIVE?!?!?!

    January 27, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. julisatc

    Obama has already started to tug on Biden's reigns... I was hoping that Joe could steal some of Obama's thunder throughout their term.

    January 27, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. Butch Dillon

    Roberts must have needed an apology and, obligingly, Joe offered it. One man has a sense of humor, the other is a conservative republican. What can you do??? Some things are just too important!

    January 27, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  8. AngieS

    Joe Biden has a heart of gold and I think everyone knows it. Some may call his jokes "flubs" or "blunders" but I call them lighthearted humour. I think he just wants to see people smile and laugh and that is one of the many qualities that make him a truly good man.

    January 27, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Greg Hodges

    Does anybody have a sense of humour anymore? Barack Obama already told Judge Roberts "No Problem!"

    January 27, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Warvette

    It's not like he made fun of the guy's lineage or anything.

    January 27, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  11. joe kofi

    Come on that was just a joke. I believe Mr. Biden's comments shouldn't bring any further discussions.

    January 27, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  12. C. Maddox

    I think Joe Biden is like all of us. Every now and then we say something we shouldn't. I actually thought it was quite funny and I don't think he meant to disrespect Chief Justice Roberts. I can also see why President Obama did not find it funny because he wants his administration to show respect to the people and the office they hold. It's okay to do that too. At any rate, the presidency is a serious thing and should not be taken lightly. I think this is the tone President Obama is trying to convey. However, when you get VP Biden, you get all that comes with him so the Obama administration is just going to have to get over it eventually and accept him as he is. If not, he will be forever apologizing!!!

    January 27, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. Jane

    He always says the wrong thing. He is not very intelligent and it shows, what else can you say? He is not funny, he is obnoxious.

    January 27, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. John in Texas

    I agree. It's not a big deal. Lighten up everyone. I'm a Republican from Texas but I will stand behind the VP because he seems like a normal guy and I will stand behind the POTUS because he was elected by a majority of the American voting public. Now, let's get to work folks.

    January 27, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. German,Irish American

    Nothing newsworthy here, just another joke, like Biden himself.

    January 27, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. James

    Old loose lip Biden. This is nothing new for him. Obama and he will soon have their first lovers discussion. Biden will be his regret in a few months.

    January 27, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Z-Man

    OK – we can let a tax dodger take over as Treasury Secretary, but the VP has to apoligze for light hearted joke? Where's President Obama's apology to all taxpayers???

    January 27, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. kathy

    Too bad, this is just Joe. Let's hope on the trip abroad he does not slip and insult someone or some nation. He has always been one to say too much without thinking. I guess that is why he could not get 2% of the primary votes in the first few states and then had to drop out (of more than one Presidential Primary).

    January 27, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. SJW

    Don't beat a dead horse, let it go. I thought it was funny. maybe the wrong time , wrong place.

    January 27, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Truth

    Here is some Hope for you. I Hope nothing ever happens to Obama, cause Biden makes Cheney look like a genius.

    January 27, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  21. WIll 18E

    Joe made a "light hearted joke" and if Roberts is too sensitive maybe he should resign from the Supreme Court.
    It was Roberts who freely choose not to read the oath of office from a printed source. Roberts was the first Chief Justice in the history of the U.S. to do so. And it was Roberts who screwed up. It is Roberts who owes an apology. So Roberts makes an error for the first time in U.S history and Biden or anybody else can't joke about it. Typical hypocrisy from a Bush appointee. "your doing a heck of a job Browning."

    January 27, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. Bren

    Noticed Joe read off a card when he swore in Timothy Geithner!

    January 27, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  23. Susan

    C'mon- it was funny! Roberts did screw up– he's the CHIEF JUSTICE! Memorize it, or use a cheat sheet, or suffer the consequences! :)

    January 27, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. reggie

    The new Vice President will be spending much of the next four years apologizing for things he says. Hard to believe this guy was elected senator for so many years. He puts his foot in his mouth time and time again.

    January 27, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  25. TB

    Anything to cause a stir.People really amaze me.

    January 27, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
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