Roberts, Obama Stumble Over Oath Wording

WASHINGTON (AP) - Both Chief Justice John Roberts and President Barack Obama stumbled slightly over wording of the presidential oath of office on Tuesday, providing a brief awkward moment in an otherwise smooth inauguration ceremony.

The oath, which is enshrined in the Constitution, includes the phrase "...that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States." But Roberts rearranged the order of the words, not saying "faithfully" until after "president of the United States."

That appeared to throw Obama off. He stopped abruptly at the word "execute."

Recognizing something was off, Roberts then repeated the phrase, putting "faithfully" in the right place but without repeating "execute."

Obama then repeated Roberts' original, incorrect version: "... the office of president of the United States faithfully."

After that, they were back on track. Except that the oath was taken five minutes late, and Obama was already technically president anyway - the Constitution says the term of the incoming president begins at noon on Jan. 20.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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