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. Gracie

    Hey, everyone makes mistakes. After George W. Bush's incompetence, this is minor, call it bad taste in judgement and let's move on. President Obama gave Biden a reminder of what is appropriate and what isn't. That's a good thing, having a President who is hands on.

    January 27, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  2. s from ny

    So, John from Texas, the vp is a "normal" guy, but the prez is not a normal guy. Are you a "normal" guy?

    January 27, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  3. worriedmom

    Well at least he can admit he made a mistake. There are bigger fish in the sea to worry about than this

    January 27, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. Mark

    Biden did nothing wrong.

    In short, Roberts flubbed a historic moment. It would be like showing Washington picking his nose in the historic painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in the historic painting. Today's digital recordings are the same kind of documentation, so his "special" moment is what he will be known for long after Biden's quip is forgotten.

    Roberts created his own "Potatoe" which won't be forgotten, no matter how much the wingnuts try to twist it..

    January 27, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  5. KJ

    Biden was the perfect choice for Obama. He's the fall guy.

    We need to laugh at someone and it can't be Obama or Clinton.

    Biden is it.

    January 27, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Obama 2.0

    Thank you Vice President.
    I have to do it too some times. Sometimes it is just to easy to point the finger and attack. The problem with that is that the finger soon finds the mirror!
    It takes a strong man with great character to admit mistakes and make right on them. This is the Joe we love and support 🙂

    January 27, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  7. Matt

    The majority of people on this comment list voted for Biden; the joke's on you, and unfortunately, all the rest of us. Boneheads. . . .

    January 27, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. Joe Mo

    Joe Biden, open mouth, insert foot.

    January 27, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. Blue balloons

    Anonymous January 27th, 2009 6:58 pm ET

    Is this guy really our V.P.?

    What's that supposed to mean? huh? I am insulted! Please apologize for your ridiculous comment, now!

    January 27, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  10. Don

    This is why Biden was the worst choice for VP. Since the election he has made more news making blunders than doing anything productive. President Obama does not need a silly sidekick. Get serious Joe...America does not have time for your gaffes.

    January 27, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. Joes a good guy

    I love Joe! Tells it like it is and with humor to boot! Ya buddy!

    January 27, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Everyone is much more understanding when it's not Bush making the flub...interesting

    January 27, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  13. Tom

    Wow, It only took 1 day for Joe to open his mouth and insert foot.

    The story is not news worthy but I do find it funning that the democrats are saying we need to lighten up.

    What would these people be saying if the former VP made a joke about a democrat mistake?

    Sounds like a double standard.

    January 27, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. Liora

    This is not well worded: "An aide to the vice president said Tuesday the two men spoke privately after that comment." Which two men spoke privately? Biden and Roberts or Biden and Obama?

    January 27, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  15. Scott

    Get used to it. Biden has a long history of saying moronic statements!

    January 27, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  16. Kim

    How insane that he called and said sorry. He has more important things to worry about then poking fun at a man that clearly he cant stand, like 72 MILLION other people in the country

    January 27, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  17. GooGooCluster

    for pete's sake, joe, STOP APOLOGIZING. did cheney ever apologize for any of the godawful things he said about the democrats? of course not. not that joe biden is anything like, cheney, thank goodness, but it sets a bad precident to start things off apologizing for every word said, even in jest. roberts and the rest of the republicans need to grow a thicker hide and learn it goes both ways.

    January 27, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. Rorschach

    Choose one:

    1. Vice-President who sometimes tells weak jokes (Biden)

    2. Vice-President who IS a weak joke, or would have been... (Palin)

    Wise choice, America.

    January 27, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. bob

    This won't be the last foot in mouth comment from him or his wife or his son or dog or cat, and you know good 'ol CNN will jump on it.

    January 27, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  20. Ridley

    The joke was very funny. I wonder will Biden laugh when Roberts return the favor on a ruling that affects the people who voted for him. HUMMMMMM! The problem is Biden must understand he is wearing a new pair of shoes. Hopefully he understands that this is a honeymoon. His mouth might dirty up his new shoes by stepping in some sh____ that will have lasting consequences on all people concerned and can't be wiped of with a cloth.

    January 27, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. Joan

    To most of us, it's simply a profound relief that Obama wants his administration to operate at a higher level of professionalism than we've seen for the past 8 years.

    I'm sure that Biden felt he was only making a light-hearted joke...but it was at someone else's expense...and you know, we just don't need that anymore.

    January 27, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. CBH

    Amazing no one notices the double standard. VP Biden makes a joke about Chief Justice's apparent poor memory and people/media scold him for saying a joke at the wrong place and time. Rush Limbaugh publicly and proudly expresses his disdain and hate towards the U.S. President to the point where he wishes him and the rest of us to fail and NO ONE CARES. My one only hope is that no one cares because Rush an overrated idiot.

    January 27, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  23. Houston

    What joke? Oh, you mean the joke that is Joe Biden! Very well, apology accepted!

    January 27, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  24. Vinny, Conroe, TX

    Aside from the people who's lives are sitting at a computer typing comments without ever having social interactions, the rest of us can say we made bad jokes before or said something we regret or needed to apologize for. Before comparing him to Bush or Cheney, let's see if he comes up with any gems like "We'll be greeted as liberators" or "I'm the decider" before we chop his head off. And I agree with BB, instead of prolonging this non-story, how about go dig up some real news...even if it is 'difficult' to find.

    January 27, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  25. Joe

    So, who's the idiot in that case? Justice Roberts for screwing it up? Or, Obama for repeating it? Or, the American electorate for electing a moron?

    January 27, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
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