Tuesday, January 15, 2013

White House Provides Details On President Obama's Sunday Swearing-In Ceremony

The quick Blue Room ceremony will be attended by immediate family...
President Obama's official swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 20 at the White House will take place in the Blue Room with immediate family present, Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Monday.  Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. will officiate, as he will the next day during the repeat ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol, where hundreds of thousands will witness the moment.  The Sunday ceremony will be held at 11:55 AM and it will be quick, Carney said.  (Above: The President and Mrs. Obama in the Blue Room)

"I would not expect a pre-inaugural speech," Carney joked.  "It's not likely to take very long."

The Sunday ceremony is Constitutionally mandated; the inaugural festivities, with a repeat-swearing-in, are taking place on Monday because these are never held on Sundays.

President Obama will take the oath of office with his hand atop a Bible from First Lady Michelle Obama's family.  It was a gift from her father to her grandmother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson, on Mother’s Day in 1958.  Mrs. Robinson was the first African American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore in Chicago "and she used the Bible regularly," according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

There will be full live pool coverage of the White House ceremony, Carney said, including TV cameras.  The Blue Room is the center drawing room on the State Floor of the Residence, and annually home to the Official White House Christmas Tree. It overlooks the South Lawn, with the Washington Monument on the National Mall framed in the windows.  In 2009, Roberts re-swore in President Obama at a private White House ceremony, because the words to the oath of office were flubbed during the Capitol Hill ceremony (above, in action).

Before President Obama takes the oath of office on Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden will be sworn in at an 8:15 AM ceremony at the Naval Observatory. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor will officiate, and Biden will use the family Bible dating to 1893 that he used for his previous swearing-in ceremonies for the Vice Presidency and for the Senate.  Biden has Irish roots, and the five-inch-thick Bible features a Celtic Cross on the cover.  The ceremony will also have live pooled press coverage.

On Monday at the Capitol, the President will be sworn in with President Abraham Lincoln's inaugural Bible and with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "traveling"  Bible at 11:30 AM ET.  The King Bible will be placed on top of the Lincoln Bible, said Carney.  Chief Justice Roberts will again conduct the ceremony.  Biden will again use his family Bible.

President Ronald Reagan was the last President to have the double Sunday-Monday swearing-in ceremony.  

The oath of office has 35 words: 

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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."


*The menu and recipes for the President's Inaugural Luncheon ARE HERE.

*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House; second by Presidential Inaugural Committee