He’s sorted out the legalities, but could Barack Obama have made the first political mistake of his presidency?
After constitutional law experts questioned the validity of his swearing-in because of a fluffed line in the oath of office, Mr Obama moved quickly to quash speculation that his presidency was in any way illegitimate.
John Roberts, the Chief Justice charged who helped bungle the oath on Tuesday, was summoned to the White House and, in front of a small pool of reporters, Mr Obama carefully and accurately repeated the 35-word oath prescribed by Article 2 of the Constitution.
The problem was, no-one thought to bring a Bible and Mr Obama decided to go ahead without one.
Legally, that was fine – the Constitution makes no mention of the Bible. Politically, it may prove to be a problem.
“The Obama boobery with the oath, led to a second oath. But the Bible, like the once disdained flag lapel pin, was nowhere to be seen,” sniped the Hillaryis44 blog, referring to a row during the presidential campaign over a missing lapel pin.
“Expect a third oath when bitter small town gun- and Bible-toting America finds out.”
Mr Obama’s likely reaction in the event of a backlash will be that he did not consider last night’s oath to be the one that counts. The White House counsel, Greg Craig, said last night that the Administration believed that Mr Obama was “sworn in appropriately” on Tuesday.
“Yet the oath appears in the Constitution itself and out of the abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath a second time,” he added.
On Tuesday, Mr Obama was sworn in with his left hand on the Bible used by his great political hero, Abraham Lincoln, on his first inauguration in 1861. That book was returned to the Library of Congress straight afterwards.
It is not clear whether Mr Roberts, the Supreme Court Chief Justice, had been expected to bring a Bible with him but it might come as a shock to some of Mr Obama’s more devout supporters – he and his family are regular churchgoers – that no Bible was available last night and the ceremony went ahead without one.
The second oath was taken in the White House Map Room, witnessed not by a crowd of two million but four members of the White House press corps. “We decided that because it was so much fun …,” Mr Obama joked as the reporters filed in.
No TV camera crews or news photographers – although pictures were taken by a White House photographer – and even Michelle Obama, the President’s wife, was absent.
Mr Roberts put on his black robe.
“Are you ready to take the oath?” he said.
“Yes, I am,” Mr Obama said. “And we’re going to do it very slowly.”
Mr Roberts then led Mr Obama through the oath without any missteps.
“The retaking of the oath went without a hitch and Obama was successfully sworn in, a second time, as president of the United States Of America. But this time he done it without his left hand on the bible,” reported the Atheist News weblog.
Watch The Video Here:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5567187.ece
Special Thanks to Times Online for the source.
**Note From The Assistant Editor** While Mr Obama taking the oath without a Bible may not be a big deal to some, I found it prudent to note that roughly 80-85% of Americans Believe in a God of some faith, and to them that is a big deal and this is no different especially to non-believer who puts the only faith he or she has in a fellow mans word. To some I believe it shows this man does not stand firmly behind what he says in correlation to what he does. While generally not a big deal to some, it becomes a big deal when you portray yourself one way and operate a different way and I believe others may find it sends mixed signals. Even if Mr.Obama did not mean it, he also did not make a strong enough point to show he’s a man of his word to the people it may concern. My suggestion to Mr.Obama is to be more carefull in the future.