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. recnepS

    Give it a break already. The man screwed up "The Oath." Regardless if he did, President Obama was officially the POTUS at 12 pm 1/20/29 with or without the OATH.

    January 28, 2009 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  2. tk in IL

    Open mouth, insert big toe......how typical. He needs to step away from the microphone very quickly and stay gone.

    January 28, 2009 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  3. gmrobins

    The degree of pettiness in this incident is unbelievable. If any adult, Chief Justices included, has skin so thin they are offended by this type of light-hearted teasing, they are too sensitive for a high ranking governmental position. Smile and keep working, for goodness sake. No appology needed.

    January 28, 2009 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  4. Crook

    He stumbled on the oath... It must be a conspiracy!

    January 28, 2009 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  5. Justanobserver

    Biden makes me sick! Ombomba is and all his followers/supporters need to wipe the slobber off their jowls and start doing something besides having their pictures taken and their feet kissed. What:? no 100% approval in the polls? Ohh, too bad. It's all downhill from here.

    January 28, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  6. who cares, the supreme ct. is a joke

    Roberts and his other conservative thugs weigh down our society

    January 28, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  7. Rush L. and Sean H.

    I say we go ahead and start impeachment proceedings on President Obama for getting us into this economic mess in less than a week.
    We knew he could not do the job and Vice-President Biden should go also because he is destroying the office of the Vice-President that the honorable Richard Cheney held to a higher standard than anyone in history.

    January 28, 2009 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  8. Dan

    To all you ignorant liberals, Obama actually screwed up first, talking over Roberts before he finished the first sentence of the oath. If you are going to joke about Roberts making a mistake after that, at least acknowledge that Obama screwed up first.

    January 28, 2009 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  9. take it easy

    why a good sense of humor is not admitted here ?
    the joke was great
    unfortunately Justice Roberts cannot laugh at his mistake here,
    human mistake but serious enough

    January 28, 2009 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  10. Dan

    Sheer boredom made me check in on this comments section. People, I have one thing to say - get a life. If this is the kind of asinine nonsense you obsess over, you're in pathetic shape. That you obsess over it this thoroughly should tell you why your elected leaders don't give a rip what you have to say. I wouldn't care about the opinions of people this vacuous either. God.

    January 28, 2009 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  11. Ian

    Thanks Joe!

    Someone who speaks their mind. How can that be offensive? Learn from your mistakes and laugh at them. Stuff happens; both VP Biden's and CJ Robert's comments were part of the humor of humanity. I look forward to reading about people who are flawed because they are too sincere. Keep it up.

    January 28, 2009 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  12. Thomas

    Love is never having to say your sorry !

    " Dick Cheney "

    January 28, 2009 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  13. Rini

    While Roberts did make a mistake, Obama was the first to misspeak and probably threw Roberts off after that. Obama knew he was partly to blame for a less-than-smooth oath of office, and that's probably why he wasn't too happy with Biden's joke. But I doubt Justice Roberts was offended by the joke– no big deal.

    January 28, 2009 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  14. Proud American

    Funny and true. There you go Joe. Gotta love it.

    January 28, 2009 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  15. robby10001

    I love all the critics of Biden's bad joke here –NOT. Talk about grasping for straws to be critical. You Republicans lost. Repeat, YOU REPUBLICANS LOST. NOW THAT'S FUNNY!!!! HA HA, HAHAHAHAHAH!!

    January 28, 2009 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  16. don in kansas

    It is a good thing that Justice Roberts swore Obama in a second time. He needed the practice for 2013.

    January 28, 2009 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  17. Nothing ever Changes

    Who cares who made the mistake, people are making a big deal out of it. The oath is a formality, according to the Constitution President Obama became President at noon, regardless of the oath. It should not matter whether or not Obama interrupted the Chief Justice, this man should know the oath and be able to administer the oath regardless of interruptions, this is what he gets trying to do it from memory.

    January 28, 2009 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  18. CJG

    Why take ourselves so seriously.....Joe is a fun guy , so lighten up Pres O.....Roberts screwed up , Biden is a delight, his eyes even twinkle , with what is going on in this world , a MOMENT of making fun at ourselves just makes the news more bareable.
    We just have bigger fish to fry .
    Go ahead Joe makes us laugh......Obama make us better!

    January 28, 2009 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  19. Nick

    He should apologize for apologizing for such a weak joke.

    January 28, 2009 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  20. Eric

    It was an attempt at dry humor. Let it go people. Worry about something that matters. There are plenty of choices.

    January 28, 2009 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  21. Robert

    Apologized? Why? What is America coming to? It was a good joke!

    January 28, 2009 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  22. Maria

    I do believe that it was Obama that messed up the Oath, not the Chief Justice. Regardless, it's a free country and Biden can crack jokes as much as he likes, and also apologize when and if he likes. That's what's so great about this Country. Anyone who thinks ill of Biden for cracking a joke is very unpatriotic. He should have cracked the joke at Obama instead though, since Obama was the one that goofed.

    January 28, 2009 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  23. Dare Nigeria

    It was only a joke, people! Just laugh it off.

    January 28, 2009 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  24. Jon

    Yep, it didn't take long. Joe the gaffe machine continues to entertain us after decades of ridiculous statements. And yet the media concentrates on Tina Fey, acting like Palin said what her SNL counterpart said. Ridiculous. How about commenting on the racist clip where Biden says he can't walk into a dunkin donuts without seeing Indians? Where the hell was the coverage of that?

    January 28, 2009 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  25. Holly

    Bring back the good old days of vice presidents who know how to conduct themselves appropriately – like shooting their friends in the face!

    January 28, 2009 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
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