President Obama says he never compares himself to Abraham Lincoln, but he’ll be sworn in again with President Lincoln’s Bible at his inauguration on Jan. 21.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee said Thursday that Mr. Obama will actually use two Bibles at the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol — the other Bible once used by Martin Luther King Jr.
“President Obama is honored to use these Bibles at the swearing-in ceremonies,” said Steve Kerrigan, president and CEO of the inaugural committee. “On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we’ve made as a nation.”
Asked during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations if it was his “Lincoln moment” to work out a compromise, Mr. Obama said he doesn’t compare himself to Lincoln. But there are numerous examples during his presidency of Mr. Obama evoking imagery of Lincoln.
The Lincoln Bible, part of the collection of the Library of Congress, was used at the swearing-in of Lincoln in 1861.
Mr. Obama also used it at his first inauguration in 2009.
The King Bible is known as the “traveling Bible” of the late civil-rights leader.
Mr. Obama actually will use a third Bible, belonging to the family of his in-laws, the Robinsons, for his official swearing-in on Jan. 20. That ceremony will take place in private because the constitutionally mandated date for the inauguration falls on a Sunday, when public institutions are closed.
The Robinson family Bible was a gift from the first lady’s Michelle Obama’s father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson, on Mother’s Day in 1958. Mrs. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore, and she used the Bible regularly.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden will be sworn in using the Biden family Bible, which is 5 inches thick, has a Celtic cross on the cover and has been in the Biden family since 1893.