The weight of Obama's do-over of oath of office
Former Times reporter Wes Allison reflects today on witnessing one of the oddest moments in presidential history: The do-over.
On Barack Obama's first full day in office, oaths were something of a punch line. During the elaborate inaugural ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol, Chief Justice John Roberts had flubbed Obama's oath. Attempting to recite it from memory, Roberts tripped over a word or two and got the sequence slightly out of order.
The following day, working for the Tampa Bay Times, I happened to be the print pool reporter, who stays near the president throughout the day, filing reports for the rest of the White House press corps every time something happens, no matter how picayune. In the early afternoon, I was inside the Old Executive Office Building, next door to the White House, where Obama was standing by as his new vice president, Joe Biden, prepared to swear in the senior executive office staff. Biden asked for a copy of the oath to read. "My memory's not as good as Justice Roberts'," he cracked.