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. Sue

    Yeah, you could tell Obama was NOT amused. He's probably pretty sorely disappointed that his big historical moment was ruined, but more importantly, he doesn't want Biden antagonizing Roberts, and the GOP as a whole. Obama's going to need their support.

    January 27, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    ZOMG!!! They should fire Biden!!!1

    January 27, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. BJ

    I'm glad that he apologized. At the time, I myself, thought it was inappropriate and disrespectful. It takes a big man to do that. Good on you Joe. I wish you and President Obama two successful terms.

    January 27, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. RealityKing

    Ohhhhh that just the doofus coming out in Biden, it's OK..

    January 27, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. Phil

    That's funny, very funny. This guy can't keep his mouth shut. He's got a big mouth, and people like it...

    January 27, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. Jeremy

    I predict there will be a lot of this over the next 8 years. I expect he will serve his country well, but the guy has a mouth on him.

    January 27, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  7. Susanna

    If we can't joke about honest mistakes, then what is this world coming to? As a sensitive person myself, I still think it's only natural and fun to tease Roberts for his honest mistake and rather hysterical, historical flub.

    January 27, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. RufusVonDufus

    Joe Biden is a complete arse and is a joke as VP. No more than Obama is as president, though, so what's the difference. Biden has always suffered from "foot in mouth" disease and this is why he has never been seriously considered until this Osama guy picked him. The good stuff has yet to surface. Joe will be the butt of many jokes to come.

    January 27, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. malclave

    I don't see the big deal.

    Biden is a liberal. Given the chance to express his hatred of someone he considers an enemy (a Chief Justice nominated by a Republican), of course he can't restrain himself.

    Dog bites man.

    January 27, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. Splurge

    He shouldn't have to apologize for his personality since Obama knew what he was getting into with his VP pick. Obama is simply humorless unless all the attention is on him. I thought we were done with presidential ego. Guess not.

    January 27, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  11. CK4NYSenate2010

    apoligize for anything Joe Biden didn't need to. Yoda we have found!

    January 27, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  12. CK4NYSenate2010

    oops... apologize

    January 27, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. phalin

    It just amazes me how people take themselve too seriously. Just further proof that we, as a country, have pretty much lost our sense of humor.

    January 27, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  14. Republican for Obama - TX

    That's Joe being Joe. Everyone knows and loves him just as he is. He is never going to change. I love you Joe!!!

    January 27, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. MET

    I found it funny. GO Biden!

    January 27, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Laura

    Anyone who actually watched the inauguration would know it was just as much Obama's fault. He started in too early which then confused Robert's and then back to Obama. It is funny to see which articles also put the blame on both and which articles do not..

    January 27, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  17. Jan Illinois

    When aids say no more than that, you can bet it was tense.

    January 27, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  18. Tom

    LOL, epic pic.

    January 27, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. Jim

    This seems like such a small thing but speaks volumes about Obama. He is a sensitive man who realized immediately that a jab like this was inappropriate. No offense to VP Biden, but it comes from the old school thinking of partisanship...or it could have been some friendly needling. However, we will never know how the judge truly feels about the flub. Let's error on the side of being sensitive to others.

    January 27, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. LG

    They should lighten up! It's just a joke. It wasn't even that offensive.

    January 27, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  21. miguel

    Biden should just issue a blanket apology for all the dopey things he will undoubtedly say in the next four years.

    January 27, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. jcow

    Let's just hope Biden can keep his mouth shut and not make a fool of himself or the United States in Germany. Oh, and let's remember that perhaps it was Obama interrupting the Chief Justice at the beginning of the oath who might have cause the confusion.

    January 27, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  23. Bill

    Biden just shows he is not equipped to be a statesman. This also shows President Obama doesn't have the experience to lead. So, when are we going to let those terrorists go run free in the USA? How about that choice for CIA? No experience. How about Secretary of State? Little foreign policy experience. Want tax help? Don't ask our Treasury Secretary, he doesn't pay his, yet is at the top of the enforcement agency to make sure you pay yours. Obama's choices are showing us the light: a lack of experience means you use what you can and for him that is political friends - not experienced servants for the country.

    January 27, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. Eleanor

    Kudos To VP Joe Biden for apologizing
    I like vice president Joe Biden
    Sometimes he speaks off the cuff but thats partly what makes him unique
    I think he will make an active awesome vice president

    January 27, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Paul in Alexandria, VA

    Really. Someone is concerned about a light-hearted joke about the flubbed Inaugural pledge. Really?

    With hundreds of billions needed to provide infrastructure improvements and economic stimulus, this is what gets media attention?

    Give me a break.

    The media should be itemizing every dollar the government spends and analyzing the pros and cons for those expenditure. That is we should be seeing. I mean, really, with all the space on the world wide web, why can't we see a full, detailed, analysis.

    P.S. After the drubbing they got, does anyone really want to hear a Republican tell us how to fix anything? Haven't they failed enough on their own? Do we really have to have them try to help Barack fail? After all, the GOP Godfather, Rush Limbaugh, has announced he wants Barack to fail. Isn't that reason enough to ignore the GOP?

    January 27, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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