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. R Wolf

    Is this really even worth reporting? It was a joke – an innocent, sweet one, so stop reporting every word that comes out of people's mouths. The press is should all go on vacation and leave the rest of us alone for awhile!!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. Suzy

    Obama needs to lighten up.. Biden was just gettin down with his bad self...

    January 27, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. mike

    Biden needs to watch his loose lips...he really steps in it when he talks....I expect his mouth will get him the boot from the messiah someday Joey think before you talk This is not the first time your mouth gets you in trouble

    January 27, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. Naseem Mian

    Joe is very nice and intelligent Vice President. I am sure he had great respect for Chief Justice John Roberts.

    January 27, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  5. Anne

    Joe....... should know when to "shut up" The President didnt think it was humorous !!!

    January 27, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  6. Karen in Florida

    I'm a Republican, who voted McCain. Joe B. was having some light-hearted fun, and I am sure he and Justice Roberts shared a laugh over the whole thing. I may not see things as you do much of the time Joe, but don't ever lose your sense of humor :).

    January 27, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  7. Mary

    Biden is an idiot – what do you expect!! Heaven help us if he ever has to step in and be president!!!!

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

    Wasn't malicious perhaps, but it was humor at the chief justice's expense. Not a big deal, but not good form, either.

    January 27, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  9. Lucy williams

    Give the guy a break. We need all the humor we can get in these trying times. I am not a fan of Joe Biden but he did nothing wrong and has nothing to apologize for.

    January 27, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  10. Russ

    I think Biden's joke was mildly-funny. It certainly wasn't offensive. It's hardly as if the Chief Justice's flub wasn't known to a good portion of the planet's human population already.

    January 27, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. Susan

    I love Biden. He made a joke and it was funny. Robert's is the one who made the blunder.

    January 27, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. Joshua Tree

    Did he ever apologize for making fun of the guy in the wheelchair?

    Boy, is that ever the pot calling the kettle black.

    January 27, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. Chipster

    Justice Roberts seems to have a very good sense of humor. He and VP Biden probably had a good laugh at the media for its lack of one.

    January 27, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. phillygal

    this is SUB G-Rated material! I am actually disappointed that he didn't say anything remotely juicy or scandalous. It was funny, in a grandpa sort-of-way. If you can't laugh it off, then you need to go to the store and buy yourself a sense of humor.

    January 27, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  15. Proud American


    January 27, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. Snake eyes


    January 27, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. Mertis from Georgetown,S.C

    Please do us proud and think before speaking.

    January 27, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. Tyler Derden

    Roberts is a hack. He has now proved it on national television. His only quality is that he is a better jurist than Harriet Miers, another Bush crony appointed (but not confirmed) to politicize the judiciary.

    January 27, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  19. Stephen

    In case anybody actually saw the Inauguration, Obama CHOKED on Chief Justice Roberts. OBAMA jumped the gun.. I dunno WTH they think, but the judge didn't screw up, Our new Comrade in Chief did.

    January 27, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. Wolday

    Yep that is it. If it is said by me or you...may not be a news. But when it comes from such figures – yes it is a breaking news !!

    January 27, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  21. GOP

    Most have been there;done that as it were.

    The important thing is he has a sense of humor which is an attribute
    he will need when he becomes President later this year.

    Incidently,has anyone yet to see a certified copy of Obam's birth
    certificate?We know now why he is such an insecent smoker continually checking his Blackberry.He knows soon
    he will read that the certificate will be uncovered revealing him
    to be not eligible for the offfices held.Like OJ his conduct gives him
    away.He knows his day are numbered.!!!

    To hasten that day,a campaign should be strated to send him a carton of Camels-each day.

    January 27, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. Mary Ellen

    oh lighten up – it was a joke – we all need to laugh at least once a day –

    January 27, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  23. Monica Marquez

    My Gawd, what is wrong with a sense of humor, I think VP Biden is funny, I love him and his sense of humor. Geez, leave him alone

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

    The Democrat’s motto: “Admit nothing, deny everything and make counter accusations!”

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

    To kris in Al : The true train wreck is the entire Palin clan. Their constant drama and antics are quite simply very hard to ignore. What Joe said pales considerably when you consider all the questionable things Palin spewed.

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