WASHINGTON - If
Barack Obama really wants to make history, he should flub the oath of office Monday. That way, if, as in 2009, he and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts decide there needs to be a do-over just to make sure the oath is official, that will vault Obama ahead of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the presidential oath-of-office derby.
Obama flub, 2009
The famous gaffe at Obama's first swearing-in -- essentially both Obama and Roberts misplaced the word "faithfully" in the 35-word oath -- led to a later, private re-do. This time, Obama will again say the oath twice -- once Sunday in semi-private, following the tradition of bumping the ceremony a day when the constitutionally decreed date of Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday, and again Monday, in public at the Capitol.
The Monday oath will put Obama in a four-oath tie with FDR, who, unlike Obama, was actually elected four times. If Obama and Roberts mangle the 30-second recitation, and a repeat is required, Obama would rank as the only president to take the oath five times, a record unlikely to ever be broken.
-- Lisa Hoffman, Scripps Howard News Service
"So Help Me God" 1800's ad lib
Presidential oath trivia: The words "So help me God" are not constitutionally required to close the presidential promise. In fact, it's not even known for certain when the use of that phrase began. Some historians believe Abraham Lincoln was the first to use it in 1865. Others say it debuted when Chester Arthur uttered them in 1881.
Every president since has included the phrase, including Obama.
Biden flub, 2013
More on the flub front, this courtesy of Vice President Joe Biden, a politician long known for his gaffes and groaners.
Saturday night, at the Iowa State Society's inauguration ball -- one of scores of unofficial parties that blossom every four years in the shadows of the real things -- Biden told the crowd he was honored to be, yes, "president."
"I'm proud to be president of the United States," said Biden, who some speculated had made a classic Freudian mistake.
Biden corrected himself quickly, but the gaffe made many wonder if he was unconsciously telegraphing his intent to run for president in 2016.
Iowa, as we all know, is a traditionally pivotal primary state, and pundits note the first day of the next presidential race is the first day after a lame-duck president's inauguration.