January 28th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
6 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. Joe

    the comment about Biden being the fall guy, that is going to be the absolute truth for this admin.

    January 27, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  2. Michael B

    who cares, its a joke, you dont need to make excuses for him, it was funny

    January 27, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  3. A Small Snippet for the Republicans to Feast On

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. Now all the mighty neocons have to chew on are little tiny morsels such as these, and see how they seize upon and tear at it.

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

    January 27, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. Bill Charlotte, NC

    This politically correct crap has gone way to far. Vice Pres Biden, I LOVED your joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    There is a time and a place for this kind of thing. This is not it.

    The business of government, and especially administering the oath of office is not the comedy club. Please make sure to when to joke and when not to joke. The whole world is watching everything that is done here.

    January 27, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  6. Belinda

    I agree with the last several posts. Stop apologizing! You didn't do anything wrong...more importantly, it was funny and right on time!

    January 27, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. Jody Monroe

    Sometimes when bad things happen, people joke about them because it lets off steam in a way that makes it less bad. In other words, it's natural to joke about mistakes! Glad he is light-hearted.

    January 27, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. shawn

    Well, if Roberts can't take a joke...after all we took him!

    January 27, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  9. TrueIndependent

    I have been reading quite a number of reports from Ed Henry that really leave a lot to be desired.

    There is a reason Ed Henry was not asked to sit in for Wolf when Wolf took a few days of vacation – Ed Henry is self-absorbed, forgets he is not the reason we watch CNN, and he should not make news. Dana Bash has a great future ahead of her. Ed Henry – Not!

    January 27, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Making light of the situation is better than what I would want for this supreme court judge. Roberts should be removed from his duties. History and this is what he gives us to talk about.Thanks judge

    January 27, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  11. TrueIndependent

    @ John B – 8.59p.m.
    Thank you for your post; well thought out and wise.

    January 27, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  12. dave

    Well he shouldn't have Roberts is one of Bushs picks and him giving the oath and messing up was just the cherry on the top of a bad American nightmare that was Bush.

    January 27, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  13. CK4NYSenate2010

    Instead of Joe apologizing, Roberts should just audition for the role of Yoda in the next Star Wars movie.

    January 27, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  14. John

    Well, at least Biden doesn't shoot his friends with a shotgun or cuss out senior lawmakers on the floor of the senate.

    January 27, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  15. tom

    For all those comparing 8 years of Bush "mispeaks" to the flubbed oath on Robert's/Obama's part you need to sit back and add up all of the retarded things bush has said over the years and then count his memorable speeches. Then do the same for Obama. Do you get my point. These people are human, they are going to stumble on their words, they are on tv 24/7. But you cannot compare bush to obama on public speaking.

    January 27, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  16. Janice

    It should be Justice Roberts apologizing to the American people and President Obama. Joe said what a lot of people were thinking!

    January 27, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  17. susie

    Thank goodness his wife, Jill, talked him out of taking the Sec. of State job. He could start WWIII with his mouth!

    January 27, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Behind every joke is an element of truth –
    How can you NOT toss a jab at the chief effin' justice of the Supreme Court (appointed by W) when he screws up the Inaugural oath... 35 words he's supposed to have commited to memory?
    Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" —Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000; or even if they can remember their lines in front of a crowd...

    January 27, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  19. Marko

    Hubris hubris hubris....Republicans do it, Democrats do it.....Everyone is going to dig their own hole and we all lose. No lobbyists in the White House unless they are the ones Obama likes....close Gitmo and put the bad guys ....where?.....think of the damage one released Gitmo prisoner could do to.....everything....
    Two years from now when everyone is sick of all the know-it-all-ism....and the House goes red again...it will be deja vu all over again...

    January 27, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  20. Jim

    That's nothing.....Biden's foot's in his mouth so much his toes and tonsils have become good friends. Unfortunately from now on when he says something stupid (which, if history is any indicator, should be at least once a week), it'll be front page news.

    January 27, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  21. Joe

    What do you expect from a guy who did not know who the president was during the Depression or that the word jobs has 4 letters and not 3.
    Not the sharpest tool in the tool shed.

    January 27, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. What?

    so Biden said something stupid? so whats new ?

    January 27, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  23. Steve (the real one)

    Enough January 27th, 2009 6:29 pm ET
    Wise to apologize & keep working toward peace. Narcissists can't take a joke.
    --------------------–
    You do realize the President did not find the joke to be funny. Could the President be a narcissist ? According to your post..... YES HE CAN!

    January 27, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  24. Bill in Albuquerque

    Who Cares!

    January 27, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  25. Larry in TX

    Justice Roberts managed to mess up a 38 word oath of office. The fact that an unblemished record of this historic occasion will never exist is of far greater importance than an off-the-cuff remark by Joe Biden.

    January 27, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
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