Obama takes the oath of office Jan. 20 (Larry Downing/Reuters)
Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath of office in the White House Blue Room just before noon—the time on Jan. 20 by which the president must be sworn in as directed by the U.S. Constitution.
Because Jan. 20 fell on a Sunday this year, the official swearing-in was held in private with pooled press coverage and will be re-administered in public Monday at the U.S. Capitol.
First lady Michelle Obama held a family Bible—a gift from her late father to her mother—on which the president took the oath Sunday. Obama added "so help me God" at the end of the oath as has been customary.
Twelve family members, including the president's sisters Auma Obama and Maya Soetoro-Ng and the first lady's mother and brother, sat in the audience to witness the ceremony, according to the White House pool report.
Daughters Sasha and Malia stood with their parents.
"Good job, daddy," Sasha said to her father following the oath.
"I did it," he responded, as they embraced.
But Sasha had one more thing to add.
"You didn't mess up," she said. The president smiled.
There were no missteps this time around.
At the public swearing-in at the Capitol in 2009, the president and Roberts had an awkward exchange in which Roberts appeared to misplace the word “faithfully” during the oath. Roberts later re-adminstered the oath in private to quell any doubts about the authenticity of the swearing-in.
This time around, Roberts on Sunday read the oath from a sheet of paper he was holding.
Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in earlier Sunday at the Naval Observatory—the vice president’s official residence—by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who became on Sunday the first Hispanic to administer the oath of office.
Biden, surrounded by family, took the oath in a private ceremony attended by 120 guests, who included family, friends, former colleagues and others. He used a family Bible for the ceremony.
Following the formalities, Biden gestured at the large crowd applauding. “Justice, these are some of my friends and my family,” Biden said and explained that Sotomayor had to work to fit the swearing-in into her schedule and needed to immediately catch a train to New York.
Following Biden’s swearing-in, the president and vice president laid the traditional wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Obama family stopped at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington for a service on their way back from the cemetery.
Following his swearing-in, the president planned to spend time with his family Sunday before attending an inaugural reception at the National Building Museum scheduled for Sunday night.
- Politics & Government