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. Wondering

    Speaking of Biden, when is that big crisis expected? The one Biden predicted and warned us that this boss's response would be very troubling?

    January 27, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. Mel

    What I thought was funny about the story was that it was only a matter of hours before Biden said something inappropriate – not that he actually said something inappropriate (that's to be expected). Obama did a good job of putting his hand on his arm – a gesture I read to mean "Shut up Joe". I predict this to be the norm.

    January 27, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. Critical Thinker

    C'mon? Are you all serious? It was a joke for crying out loud. Perhaps it did not go over well – but to actually write an article about this stuff and for people to question his competence is sady comedy.

    January 27, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  4. the thought police

    We almost had that wash woman from Texas on the Court,now she was funny.

    January 27, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |

    Joe Biden is an idiot.

    January 27, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  6. shell

    So what's the big deal? Just because he is the VP, he can't crack a joke anymore? Leave it to the over zealous "right wingers" to come down on him. And I have news for all of America...Chaney was the worst VP in office...he spent more time in the hospital than he did in the office!!!!!

    January 27, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  7. Dan

    Funny that people are acting as if a punch-on-the-shoulder wisecrack from Biden is an excuse to dub him the anti-christ. Lighten up, people...

    January 27, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  8. jean

    could you imagine if the the justice had been a democrat and the president a republican ...THE RIGHT Wing REPUBLICANS WOULD CALL FOR THE JUDGES RESIGNATION !!

    Leave Biden alone !

    January 27, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. Bill

    Give me a break. It was a harmless joke. It was not mean spirited. Why can't we enjoy life a little?

    Keep it up Joe. We need you.

    January 27, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  10. Not a News Story - CNN

    Justice Roberts screwed up – anyone can.
    His opinion screw ups are far more newsworthy.

    January 27, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. for texas republic


    January 27, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. TSRVT

    Wow – there are a lot of very stupid people posting here. Biden is a good man, a tireless public servant and a great husband and father. I know this bothers you republicans who prefer broken homes, belittling your kids, and bankrupting the country. Gee, that's too bad.

    January 27, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. Chuck

    I lean to the right, but I thought Joe's comment was clever and harmless. We need more light-hearted humor in these seemingly dark days. Yes, Joe has a history of making comments that warrant apologies (e.g. pre-election "clean and articulate" comments made about his new boss), but this time, no apology is necessary. Sounds like he got scolded and told to play nice.

    January 27, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. mellapela

    "Obama did not crack a smile". Uh-oh. I bet that, behind closed doors, someone got a tongue-lashing...............again. lol

    January 27, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. c

    Funny thing is it was Obama who spoke out of turn and interrupted Roberts while he was still talking, which then threw Roberts off. That change thing just seems like the same BS politics every day...

    January 27, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  16. Pat in IL

    Sense of humor, etc. has nothing to do with this. President Obama is very much against divisiveness, and is trying very hard to make sure that all of that, including petty, childish jabs, stops and that these leaders show respect for each other. If you're not respecting someone, then you're not listening. If you're not listening, then you're not learning.

    January 27, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. liz poppert

    no need to apologize, joe. the republicans having been telling lies and half-truths for the past eight years.

    long live the truth!

    January 27, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  18. Freed_From_W

    That comment was well deserved.

    January 27, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. Sherry Birtley

    Joe say it isn't so; you have embarrased yourself and us, again. Please think before you speak.

    January 27, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  20. Simmy

    I thought it was over. It's great that he apologized, hopefully the no news crew will leave it alone. He's a good man – the right man for President Obama. They compliment each other well. Nothing more to say.

    January 27, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. Matt

    Funny how the media glorifies everything the democrats say if they can. If the liberals say something stupid or insulting, the media seems to ignor it. Everything the republicans say or do is criticized. I guess it makes sense, as the media are the ones who got Obama and Biden elected anyways......

    January 27, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  22. Abe London

    Grow up Biden? Grow up Biden? Grow up Biden? OBAMA promised "CHANGE". George was famous for his wild west funky way of saying things, Biden is as goofy tongued as they come. So where is the "CHANGE"

    January 27, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. Tyler Derden

    Finally – a repub lick an that can do basic math. Too bad your boy W and his cronies don't have the same skill, genius, or we might not be in the worst economy since the great depression. PS I guess you probably had some help with the math from a Democrat, wonder boy...

    Matt January 27th, 2009 9:11 pm ET

    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 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  24. Balando

    VP equals Voice Problem.

    January 27, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  25. arivera

    This is not even a story. The media needs to fill time and looks for anything no matter how meaningless to fill it.

    January 27, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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