WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama began his second term at noon today with a private swearing-in 24 hours ahead of his public oath-taking at the U.S. Capitol Monday.
Chief Justice John Roberts used note cards to administer the 35-word oath. The justice flubbed the oath in 2008 and President Obama had to be sworn in a second time the next day.
Today, though, the oath was executed perfectly over a family Bible that had been a gift from First Lady Michelle Obama's father to his mother.
The ceremony lasted about one minute, after which the president thanked Justice Roberts, kissed his wife, hugged his daughters and quickly escorted his family out of the Blue Room of the White House.
Vice President Joe Biden began his second term at 8:21 this morning during a separate swearing-in at the U.S. Naval Observatory, where he lives.
He was sworn in ahead of the president because Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who the vice president selected to administer the oath, was scheduled to be in New York this afternoon to discuss her new memoir "My Beloved World" at a Barnes and Noble in Manhattan.
"I want to explain to you what a wonderful honor it was, and how much out of the way the justice had to go," Mr. Biden said after the swearing-in, explaining that Justice Sotomayor had to leave immediately to catch a train to New York.
"It is an incredible honor to have Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor swear me in," Mr. Biden said in a statement provided by his office. "From the first time I met her, I was impressed by Justice Sotomayor's commitment to justice and opportunity for all Americans, and she continues to exemplify those values today."
The vice president was sworn in using a 5-inch-thick Bible that has been in the Biden family since 1893. He used it when he was first sworn in as vice president in 2009 and each of six times when he was sworn in as a U.S. senator. His son, Beau, used it when he was sworn in as Delaware's attorney general.
Among those attending the short ceremony this morning were members of the Biden family; Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.; AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; political strategist David Axelrod; Attorney General Eric Holder; Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and several current and former members of Congress.
Historically, when the Constitutionally mandated swearing-in day has fallen on a Sunday -- when federal offices and courts are closed -- public ceremonies have been held on the following Monday.
Bureau Chief Tracie Mauriello: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-703-996-9292. First Published January 20, 2013 2:30 PM