Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Hussein Obama

At the age of 47, Barack Hussein Obama has become the 44th President of the United States. He took the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol before a crowd of more than one million people who had gathered in frigid temperatures to see the first African American become president. It is, indeed, a great day for all Americans. A chance for new beginnings...change....and restored faith in our government.

Below is the video of Barack Obama taking the oath of office. Was he just overcome with the magnitude of the crowd or did his mind just wander to other things? Clearly, something caused him to not concentrate on what he was to 'repeat' after The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr. who administered the Presidential Oath of Office. It's kind of funny really. Shows he's human ... just like the rest of us.


For a couple of smooth-talking constitutional experts, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and President Barack Obama had a difficult time getting through the constitutional oath of office.

Barack Obama

There was a false start by Mr. Obama, who started to respond before Chief Justice Roberts had completed the first phrase. Mr. Obama ended up saying the first two words — “I, Barack” — twice.

Then there was an extremely awkward pause after Chief Justice Roberts prompted Mr. Obama with these words: “That I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.” The chief justice seemed to say “to” rather than “of,” but that was not the main problem. The main problem was that the word “faithfully” had floated upstream in the constitutional text, which actually says this: “That I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.”

Mr. Obama seemed to realize this, pausing quizzically after saying, “that I will execute.”

Chief Justice Roberts gave it another try, getting closer but still not quite right with this: “Faithfully the office of president of the United States.” He omitted the word “execute.”

Mr. Obama now repeated the chief justice’s error of putting “faithfully” at the end and said, “The office of president of the United States faithfully.”

From there, smooth sailing.

It is academic to argue about what the failure to utter the words in the precise order required by the Constitution means. Could it be argued that Mr. Obama had not become president as a consequence? I think not.

There is, in any event, no rule against a do-over. When questions were raised about whether Calvin Coolidge, in 1923 after Warren G. Harding died, should have been sworn in by his father, a notary public, he took the oath again from a federal judge.

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