- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2009


President Obama took the oath of office a second time Wednesday night during a private ceremony at the White House, one day after the flubbing of the oath on Inauguration Day.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. made a secret trip to the White House and, wearing his robe, readministered the oath to Mr. Obama.

Twelve people were in the room, including the president. From the White House staff: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, White House Counsel Greg Craig, senior adviser David Axelrod, and the official White House photographer, Pete Souza. Katie Lillie, an advance staffer who assists the press, also was present with a small pool of reporters from the St. Petersberg Times, Bloomberg, the Associated Press and Reuters.

Mr. Gibbs told the small pool of reporters this was done to be cautious since there was “one word out of sequence” on Tuesday.

“Are you ready to take the oath?” Mr. Roberts asked.

“I am, and we are going to do it very slowly,” Mr. Obama replied.

It happened at 7:35 p.m., with no mistakes, and took 25 seconds.

Mr. Roberts said, “Congratulations, again.”

Mr. Craig issued a statement a few minutes later.

“We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the President was sworn in appropriately yesterday. But the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of an abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time.”

The re-swearing in marks the third time in U.S. history for a president to do so. The other two were Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.

After President James Garfield was shot, President Arthur was sworn in at his home in New York. He took the oath a second time in a ceremony in Washington two days later with the chief justice of the United States.