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. Elizabeth

    To those who state with such certainty that Biden is a "plagarizer" please do him the courtesy of actually finding out what he did that led to the charge. In one case, he neglected to cite someone on one occasion although there are five or six tapes of his giving proper attribution previously - that's called an absent-minded moment, not plagarism. In fact the "Biden mistake" is cited in many serious works on plagarism as an example of something that does NOT qualify. - The other occasion was his first year in college, or perhaps law school, when he misunderstood rules of citation and failed to properly identify subsequent statements from a work he had cited earlier in the paper. ------ You are showing your own ignorance by beating this **very** dead horse!

    January 28, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. dp

    Lets all bow to kiss the feet of the new savior Barak Hussien Obama and take our place at the table of Our Good GOD, Government.

    January 28, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. J Schwack

    some people just don't know when to keep their mouth shut. you'll have to fogive him he's an idiot.

    January 28, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Ron

    This dude is a gaff machine... Why do libs always chose clowns as VPs?

    January 28, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Sharon Kitchen

    this is o.k. V.P. Joe.
    Obama is Pres.
    The "new" admin is doing very good work.
    God be with you on your trip.
    Safe return.

    January 28, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. RFP

    Wow... an incredible amount of grace and leeway seems to be expected from Biden by the Left.

    What cracks me up is how everyone seems worked up and appalled that the Right is causing a stir over this. As far as I'm concerned the Left deserves to every every dot and tittle of their movements documented and commented on. After 8 years of the sniping and nitpicking by the Left regarding the Bush administration, it seems the Left has



    This is going to be fun...

    January 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. waaahh

    hahahaha, good, funny joke. tell roberts to stuff it.

    January 28, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Agnes Fleming

    Joe, please put a lid on your lips!

    January 28, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Daniel, Atlanta, GA

    @Lisa in Ohio, I really appreciated what you said.


    January 28, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Mr. Biden did not need to apologize since he did not say anything out of malice! I think we have to learn and be able to laugh at ourselves when we make an honest mistake…i.e. the judge!

    January 28, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Sigma

    No need for Biden to apologized. Roberts screwed up.

    January 28, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. rat

    I for one think it was funny. Some people just want to complain about everything, lighten up.

    January 28, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. AD

    Lol. I don't see why he should apologize. 😀

    C'mon, let's have our chuckle and move on.

    January 28, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. JC

    The pot calling the kettle black. Let's see the media shoiw some of Biden's huge blunders.

    January 28, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. GA Independent

    Gosh – get a life! It was a funny comment from Biden. The new Pres. is trying so hard to not PO people unnecessarily... but get over it – all of you.

    Don't sweat the small stuff. There's plenty to dither about these days. Go pick on Rush – he's a large and easy target...

    January 28, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. jao

    Joe Biden is about as funny as Dan Quayle.

    January 28, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Ken in Dallas

    The real joke is that this is what more people are talking about than anything else.

    Roberts screwed up the inauguration. If Biden doesn't crack jokes about it, you know Leno and Letterman will, so what's the harm?

    January 28, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Yoda

    Joe is a gaff machine and everybody knows. I guess he thinks he is witty or clever. Obama is going to have to gag this guy at some point. The Obama handlers will be spending the majority of their time explaining Joe's latest flub. Also I see Joe's wife has the same disease. This is going to be fun to watch.

    January 28, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Brad

    So Biden and Roberts are both human. Get over it, America.

    January 28, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Pete

    The reason Roberts screwed up the oath is because Obama didn't wait his turn to begin speaking. What happened to more listening and less talking?

    January 28, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. PL

    Apparently CNN is enjoying the attention this has attracted, I'll oblige.
    To all who think that it is funny, just a joke, that we all should lighten up, you are right if you do this in the locker room, lunch room, water hole, SNL. You would not do this if you are a manager who is asked by the company CEO to represent the co to present award or recognition to employees. You are expected to be trusted to use restraints (even if you are right) in honor of the OFFICE (position) you hold and the OCCASION (as in swearing in the White House staff).
    You may not have had the opportunity to think over this twice, because you are not in that kind of station in life (not meant to be unkind). The reality check is not to be so free to interject your own standard of behavior onto the second head of our country.
    Restraints and propriety are qualities of leaders. Obama understands it.

    January 28, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Southerner

    BIden is an idiot. Of course, Obama picked him because he IS an idiot. Obama didn't want someone who could possibly overshadow him. That's why he didn't pick Hillary for VP.

    January 28, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Kathy S. Cloughn

    Lighten up Barack! I thought it was funny. No apologies needed.

    January 28, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. KenM

    RFP says: "After 8 years of the sniping and nitpicking by the Left regarding the Bush administration, it seems the Left has it coming…"

    Nitpicking? Isn't that just precious!.... a little righwinger defending his disgraced x-president. Yes, just so precious, but also astoundingly DELUSIONAL! I don't think its quite nitpicking to criticize an administration and his do-nothing [R] party when they continuously screwed-up everything significant that they touched: national security; foreign policy; environment; civil rights; constitutuonal process; the economy....and its not like these were close-calls or something; these were MAJOR screw-ups that we continue to live with today, e.g. Iraq, the recession.....

    To you hyper-partisan, self-deluded rightwingers out there: are you feeling a little uncomfortable, upset about the election, scared that Obama might succeed in improving this country's troubles that YOU created? Well, too bad!....I rejoice in your discomfort, and celebrate your little vaccuous tantrums. And that discomfort you're feeling....that's my foot on your neck, and as time goes on I'll be applying more and more weight to the task.

    January 28, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. Veteran in Kansas

    Only ones that appear to be upset over a little hickup are those that it had no impact upon.

    January 28, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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