January 28th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
3 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. JGR

    If President Bush had made this lousy joke, you'd never hear the end of it– the lame talk show host would be rerunning this misstep ad nauseam on late night shows. Perhaps Joe Biden should follow the example of Dick Cheney and fight terrorism undercover. Vice President Cheney helped us not be attacked after 911 and deserves our thanks.

    January 27, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  2. thuff7

    Joe Biden suffers from terminal foot-in-mouth disease. I'm surprised it took him so long between the time he was sworn in until the time he had to apologize to someone in a high office in the country. In this case, it was the Chief Justice of the United States, the same man who was grilled by Biden on the Senate Judiciary committee. Biden made a fool of himself there as well. The real harm will come when he has to apologize to some foreign diplomat in delicate negotiations. Please President Obame, do *not* send him to the Mid East!

    January 27, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  3. bk

    People talk about Palin and they elected this idiot for VP and a president who hires a tax cheat, a lobbyist, and a guy who sends dead fish to people. Palin is more honest than any of these idiots.

    Obama gets earmarks for the hospital his wife worked at and she gets her salary doubled. You people need your head examined.

    January 27, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  4. JIm in Asheville

    To Michael- VP Biden is one of our "best foreign policy guys." Are you serious? He has been on the wrong side of history since at least the 1980s. Check out his positions during the Cold War. Naive and dangerous. The latest was his silly idea of dividing Iraq into three separate parts. He may be an authority in some areas, but I'm sorry, foreign policy isn't one of them. It's only because of tenure.

    January 27, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. mimi

    Cmooon.......... we need some humor here now, Bush is out of office, we need someone to make us laugh and make fun off.

    January 27, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  6. Sakimasg

    Hey Rush or is it Ruse never the less I do not believe that it’s the Precedents intention is to get rid of the Republican Party; need I remind you that America is a diverse country. People have different natural opinions convictions and come to different conclusions.
    Although the Republican strategy on how to make America a more perfect country and negligent attempt to make all its citizenry included hit bottom, something’s of the conservatism agenda does help all Americans. Fear of Equality and Equal Opportunity and We The People not being one of them is still guided by your un-natural non cognizant mentality.

    January 27, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  7. HouseDiva

    old news...who cares?

    January 27, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  8. Tom

    "What would these people be saying if the former VP made a joke about a democrat mistake?
    Sounds like a double standard."

    I don't think Cheney has a right to say anything. He shot a guy in the face and tried redefining the role of the VP by saying he wasn't a member of the executive branch.

    January 27, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  9. Mercy

    Wow! Its sad that a VP can't make a joke. He isn't even making it up.... its a fact Roberts blundered. Its okay to poke fun at that.

    January 27, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  10. tim

    Joe Biden is turning out to be the next George W.

    January 27, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  11. Dan from Philly

    Christ, can't anyone take a joke anymore??

    January 27, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  12. Dan

    I think Justice Roberts needs to chill.

    January 27, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  13. Beech

    no need to apologize for jokes, mr biden. jokes are supposed to be funny. and you are funny.

    January 27, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  14. OK Either Way

    OK that he apologized.
    OK if hadn't apologized.
    It's just not a big deal.

    Roberts screwed up. Having someone make public sport is bound to sting. So a well-mannered person might apologize. But a well-mannered person also might not apologize. Roberts is a heavy-weight . . . he's responsible for his own screw-up . . . and his screw-up did mar a great moment in history which should have been picture-perfect.

    Apologize or don't apologize . . . either way it's OK.

    January 27, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  15. beth

    Come on Biden...control your tongue...you are smarter than this and you are making the administration look a little foolish with your thoughtless comments...it is time for you to bring your experience to the table and begin helping the new administration...and stop diverting the attention from the critical topics.

    January 27, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  16. boongirl

    Well, i thought it was hilarious!!!. Though now we know what Obama's "shut up" face looks like :).

    January 27, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  17. SueB

    Biden can't speak and sticks his foot in his mouth frequently. I'm less then excited about him being VP. But any idiot should have seen this comment for what it was – a light hearted joke. Worry about the damaging things he said, not harmless jokes.

    January 27, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  18. CaliGirl

    Shirley in California January 27th, 2009 6:23 pm ET

    He and his wife both acted very foolishly during the inauguration. Please VP Biden think BEFORE you speak.
    ______________________________________________

    How so Shirley?

    January 27, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  19. Abraham Lincoln

    If anyone else on the job, playfully, jabbed a coworker, who made a mistake, would we be tripping?

    January 27, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  20. JW

    Biden says moronic things because he is a moron. He has a long history of lying about his accomplishments, stealing the intellectual work of others, and just plain being stupid. This and and the tax cheat was the best Obama could come up with. Please, just keep the "change"!

    January 27, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  21. A Virginian

    This is something that the Republican, would never apologizes for. Remember this people FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Something Republicans say all the time when it comes Rush.

    January 27, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. g miller

    It doesn't seem like most of you actually HEARD the words at the inauguration. Obama jumped the gun, probably causing Roberts to say the words out of sequnece. B.F.D.

    January 27, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  23. Not Don Rickles

    Vice President Joe Biden is now second in command to President Barack Obama; therefore, I do think that VP Biden has to act the part and show abit more decorum.

    January 27, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  24. Gayle Williams

    that was funny as hell! where is our sense of humor these days?

    January 27, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  25. bob in LA

    When are politicians going to grow up. A joke at a flub is just a natural reaction. No apology neeeded

    January 27, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
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