Separated by a Bible used by Abraham Lincoln at his first inaugural, Roberts asked Obama: "Are you prepared to take the oath, senator?" The former Illinois senator indicated he was, and Roberts started reciting — and Obama repeating — the 35-word oath that is prescribed by the Constitution.
The presidential oath comes directly from the Constitution. It says: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
When Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath, he misplaced the word "faithfully." The second clause as read by Roberts became, "that I will execute the office to the president of the United States faithfully. . . ."
Roberts tried to correct himself, but he still got it slightly wrong, saying, "faithfully the office of the president of the United States. . . ." Repeating the chief justice's original but flawed version, Obama said, "the office of president of the United States faithfully. . .