Another oath flub would make history, Biden's Freudian moment, port-a-potty problems

WASHINGTON - If Barack Obama really wants to make history, he should flub the oath of office Monday. That way, if, as in 2009, he and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts decide there needs to be a do-over just to make sure the oath is official, that will vault Obama ahead of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the presidential oath-of-office derby.

The famous gaffe at Obama's first swearing-in -- essentially both Obama and Roberts misplaced the word "faithfully" in the 35-word oath -- led to a later, private re-do. This time, Obama will again say the oath twice -- once Sunday in semi-private, following the tradition of bumping the ceremony a day when the constitutionally decreed date of Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday, and again Monday, in public at the Capitol.

The Monday oath will put Obama in a four-oath tie with FDR, who, unlike Obama, was actually elected four times. If Obama and Roberts mangle the 30-second recitation, and a repeat is required, Obama would rank as the only president to take the oath five times, a record unlikely to ever be broken.
- Lisa Hoffman, Scripps Howard News Service

Presidential oath trivia: The words "So help me God" are not constitutionally required to close the presidential promise. In fact, it's not even known for certain when the use of that phrase began. Some historians believe Abraham Lincoln was the first to use it in 1865. Others say it debuted when Chester Arthur uttered them in 1881.

Every president since has included the phrase, including Obama.
- Hoffman, SHNS

More on the flub front, this courtesy of Vice President Joe Biden, a politician long known for his gaffes and groaners.

Saturday night, at the Iowa State Society's inauguration ball -- one of scores of unofficial parties that blossom every four years in the shadows of the real things -- Biden told the crowd he was honored to be, yes, "president."

"I'm proud to be president of the United States," said Biden, who some speculated had made a classic Freudian mistake.

Biden corrected himself quickly, but the gaffe made many wonder if he was unconsciously telegraphing his intent to run for president in 2016.

Iowa, as we all know, is a traditionally pivotal primary state, and pundits note the first day of the next presidential race is the first day after a lame-duck president's inauguration.
-Hoffman, SHNS

It's a crap shoot.

Inauguration planners are hoping the 1,500 port-a-potties they ordered for the National Mall and inaugural parade crowd -- expected to number between 600,000 and 800,000 -- will be enough.

In 2009, when some 1.8 million attended, they had about 5,000 portable toilets at their disposal.

Temporary toilet suppliers say the size of the estimated crowd this inauguration would require about twice as many portable restrooms as will be available Monday.

But after the 2009 festivities, organizers found the port-a-potties weren't as popular a destination as they had anticipated. It seems many opted for the indoor restrooms at several Smithsonian museums open for their use.

Eight museums, all bracketing the Mall, will be open Monday, as well.
- Hoffman, SHNS

The Christian evangelical group Faith and Action may not agree with the president, but it is urging people to pray for him anyway.

The group has hung a two-story, bright yellow banner on the front of its building behind the U.S. Supreme Court building, citing a Bible verse that urges people to pray for kings and others in power.

"The president needs our prayers. He bears the weight of one of the most complex jobs on Earth," the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action, said during a press conference.

The banner quotes 1 Timothy 2:1-4, from the English Standard Version of the Bible, which says to pray for "kings and all who are in high positions." Faith and Action has posted banners before, but this is the first time it has displayed one for an inauguration.

The Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said the banner is a positive thing: "We are not malicious toward our president. We support and stand in solidarity in prayer for our president."
- Amy Slanchik, SHNS

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