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Updated Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 05:52 AM

Oath of office do-over: It'll be twice again this year

By Laura Green
Palm Beach Post

WASHINGTON — By the time the sun sets on Inauguration Day, Barack Obama will have sworn the oath of office four times — more than almost any other president.

Obama became president in front of a record-breaking crowd of about 2 million outside the U.S. Capitol in 2009. But because Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed a line, Obama and Roberts met the next day to redo the oath. Roberts and Obama will once again meet at a more intimate swearing-in at the start of Obama's second term. This time, though, the calendar is to blame.

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1933, declared that the president's term of office begins on Jan. 20. Because it falls on a Sunday in 2013, Obama will swear the oath that day followed by the public event on Monday.

In 2009, Obama interrupted Roberts midway through the opening line, which seemed to throw off Roberts, who, instead of saying "faithfully execute the office of president of the United States," placed "faithfully" at the end of that phrase. Roberts tried to correct himself, but Obama repeated it in the same wrong order. White House Counsel Greg Craig said Roberts administered the oath a second time because the wording appears in the Constitution and "out of the abundance of caution."

Roberts and Obama share a fractious connection. In 2005, then-Sen. Obama refused to support Robert's confirmation to the high court. Little did Obama know that the chief justice would later salvage his signature legislative achievement, in the closely watched Affordable Care Act case decided last year.


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