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. darrell

    hey, it was a funny comment and i am sure that the vice president did not mean any disrespect to the chief justice. it would have been nice if the president had a least cracked a smile. show us that you have a since of humor Mr. President!!

    January 27, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Independent Voter

    Biden has had so many problems in the past with his off-the-cuff remarks – often tactless and distasteful – often after a few drinks. He was a very bad choice to be VP and let's hope and pray there will never be a need for him to become Commander in Chief. One thing we can be sure of is that this won't be the last of his apolgies....

    January 27, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. m4rk

    First of many Biden mishaps.

    January 27, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Peggy in Ohio

    God love him, he just says what's on his mind..

    January 27, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. dan

    Good, he should have apologized. The joke was completely out of line and you could tell it did not make Obama too happy!

    January 27, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. Emma

    I hope Roberts apologized for flubbing the oath!

    January 27, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. Zion

    So, shouldn't somebody laugh at the whole thing? Dang.....I can't take people who do not have a sense of humor.

    January 27, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Mr. Jonathan

    C'mon Joe,
    Not everybody shares your sense of humor and playful ribbing.
    I mean, I thought what you said was pretty funny, but you oughta know that politics can be tricky. And that sometimes a joke like that becomes a real gaff after it goes through the media filter.
    Tell ya what Joe, before you crack another good one. Make sure you tell it to your collegues first. Pause and decide whether cretins like fox news wont jump on it like white on rice, and give their unoriginal and over zealous pundits hours of banter.

    January 27, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Dawn Forde

    Who cares

    January 27, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. Ernie in LA

    More trash coming from his mouth? He needs to shut up. Sounds like Obama chewed his butt. I hate to think that this man travels to other countries as a spokesperson for the US. And you Dems thought Palin said some crazy stuff?

    January 27, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. Jeanne

    Joe, you should know most of the people in this country can't take a joke!!! You need to be more careful under your microscope!!

    January 27, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. Kris in AL

    THE FIRST OF MANY APOLOGIES THE VICE PRESIDENT WILL OFFER.

    VP BIDEN IS A VERBAL TRAIN WRECK THAT KEEPS WRECKING OVER AND OVER.

    January 27, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. Bill / California

    I like Joe Biden, but I have a feeling we're going to see "Biden Apologizes for Joke" as a headline more than a couple of times the next 4-8 years....

    January 27, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. tjp, valley forge, pa

    Just the beginning, I'm afraid, for VP Biden and his ill conceived statements. He'll be fodder for the late night guys for the next 4 years.

    January 27, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. Mathis86

    Well thanks to this clown late night comedians have at least 4 more years of material!

    January 27, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. SteveinAZ

    Big deal, I thought it was funny. Get over yourselves America!

    January 27, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Donald Whitehawk

    Biden is a joke, has always been a joke, and will remain a joke long after he is dead.

    January 27, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. the thought police

    The Justices need term limits.Life time appointments are for the birds.

    January 27, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. Pete

    Get ready for 4 years of "Biden apologizes for..."

    Dude need to learn how to shut his pie hole. His wife, too.

    January 27, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    who

    the

    hell

    cares

    January 27, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. BB

    One thing about it -- when all Americans are out of work (except the wealthy owners), the wealthy will have to be the ones supplying the tax base – bet their taxes go way up then.

    January 27, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    Let Joe be Joe... what was their to apologize for. The fact is the Chief Justice messed up 35 words the apology should come from him.

    January 27, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  23. Cynde

    Oh, who cares? I realize that Mr. Obama is an advocate of, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all, " and it was obvious from his demeanor (and the gentle nudge he gave Biden immediately after Biden said this) that he didn't approve of the comment. Nevertheless, it was a light-hearted joke, and for those of us who really dislike Roberts and believe his legal logic leaves much to be desired, it was refreshing. Roberts was quite arrogant to think that he could come out in front of 1.8 million people without a script at the inauguration, and Biden simply called him on that arrogance. Biden should not have apologized because he did nothing wrong.

    January 27, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  24. Lee

    what's new? joe with his foot in his mouth and egg on his face...obama must be sooooo proud!

    January 27, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  25. ike

    Should'nt Judge Roberts be the one apologizing. He's the one that made the mistake.

    January 27, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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