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Didn't Roberts flub by addressing Obama as Senator?

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ramblin_dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:41 PM
Original message
Didn't Roberts flub by addressing Obama as Senator?
Roberts administered the oath after 12 noon, so Obama was already president. But Roberts asked him "Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?". It would seem that Roberts didn't think Obama became president until after he had taken the oath.
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librechik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
1. more tangles
sigh
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LakeSamish706 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
2. If true, as someone in another OP stated, he knows squat about the Constitution. n/t
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high density Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
3. Maybe he wasn't looking at his watch?
Jeeze...
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ramblin_dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. The oath is for the president not a senator
There is no need to look at a watch. If Obama wasn't already president then he shouldn't be taking the oath. Roberts should have addressed Obama as Mr.President.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. Didn't catch that.
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 04:45 PM by elleng
O had resigned the seat sometime ago, unlike hillary who waited for a while. His 'replacement' has been seated.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
5. Roberts is a partisan Federalist Society hack. (nt)
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Avalux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
6. Roberts needs to resign or be impeached.
He wasn't prepared and knows crap about the Constitution. He's the f'n Cheif Justice - what an embarrassment.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
7. Ummm.... SC Justices don't have embedded chronometers
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 04:46 PM by jberryhill

I'm waiting for some idiot to sell the Joe Biden Commemorative Plate, in honor of his seven minutes as president.

All fun aside:

1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. The oath still seems necessary as the Constitution says it must be taken
before undertaking execution of the office - so it would be necessary to administer at some point before Obama did anything in the office.

It would be like LBJ, he became President as soon as JFK died, but they had to give him the oath in the airplane so LBJ could act as President.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #12
30. There are a lot of ways to take an oath

In court, you simply say "I do" - just like, in fact, Herbert Hoover took his oath of office.

The question was whether the declarant objectively manifested assent to the oath.

If the oath were printed on a piece of paper, and you ask the declarant "Do you take this oath?" and they say "yes", then they have taken the oath.

In PA, attorneys take their oath by signing a statement and mailing it in.

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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #12
44. i don't think so, because it "Amends" the constitution
right? :shrug:
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TTUBatfan2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
8. Senator would be an incorrect title...
He resigned as Senator a few months ago. Roland Burris is the junior Senator from Illinois. You are correct that Obama was the President at the time of his swearing-in, but Roberts should have referred to him as President-elect if he was going to forget to recognize that Obama was already President.
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Joe the Revelator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. The title "Senator" is eternal
If Ted Kennedy for example were to have resigned last year, we'd still refer to him as Senator.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
10. Could it be a courtesy title, like how we still refer to former presidents as presidents? (nt)
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
18. Ditto for governors
All in all, it wasn't Roberts' most important screw-up that day. Maybe he'll get it right when he deals with Barack Obama in four years!
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
11. Thought that odd too, since Obama resigned his Senate seat, he would
not be properly addressed as "Senator." The only thing he was at the time was the PE.
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ramblin_dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. He was actually president at the time.
He was no longer president elect since it was past 12 noon. The whole ceremony is timed to make the oath be given after the president elect becomes president, and Roberts should have known this.
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Bad Thoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
27. Senator was the highest position he had yet held
And it seems deferential to keep that title, whether referring to an ex-Congressman, Senator, Secretary or President.

On the other hand, should Roberts have called Obama, "Mr. President"? The inauguration is theater, giving the illusion that it transform someone into power. Even if he already became president, I think that is was appropriate to address his former title.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #27
33. There have been former senators in the world, so it would be custom if
it is generally done. Let's take Ted Stevens, then. It would be customary to continue to call him Senator.
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catgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:20 PM
Response to Original message
14. I thought that seemed odd at the time...

not knowing he automatically became prez at noon. I thought he should have been addressed as "president-elect Obama".
Roberts messed up all over the place. I think he should re-do the oath, just to make us all feel better (and celebrate yet again).
This whole process has been full of surprises- most of them pleasant. :-)
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NYC Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
15. Um, this happens with every president.
Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush were asked "Governor are you ready to take the oath?" And others depending on their previous office.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #15
23. thank you!!
I just posted the same thing elsewhere on this thread. And Ford was referred to as Mr. VIce President when he took the office even though Nixon's resignation was already effective and Ford was, technically, already the president when he took the oath, at least to the same degree as Obama already was president when he took his oath.
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catgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #15
37. Except Obama was already president when the oath was read

It started late and he was already president for about 5 minutes, or so.
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NYC Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:14 PM
Response to Reply #37
45. It's symbolic
The Chief Justice will ask, for example, "Senator are you ready to take the oath?" and then after will say "Congratulations Mr. President."

Yes he was technically president already but it is done for ceremonial reasons.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #37
48. do you think every CJ has checked his watch to be sure its not a minute before or minute
after? You want to place a wager on whether past CJ's have asked the president elect are you prepared to take the oath "governor" or "mr. vice president" or "senator" -- which they've done routinely in the past -- after the stroke of 12 noon?
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rufus dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
16. to this thread and the others on rightie sites
saying Obama isn't President, because he didn't properly take the oath, and to rush, sean, bill, and all others mind fucking the minutia, I have only one response.

Whatever.
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Bear down under Donating Member (289 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
19. This is all splitting hairs
How the Chief Justice should address the new President in his invitation to take the oath of office should things be running a couple of minutes late is a fairly trivial matter.

Had he realised the oath was late, he could have sidestepped the problem of what title to use by simply addressing him as "mr Obama". From where I sit, that would have been impeccable. After all, it is his name, irrespective of what his title might have been at that instant.

I must say Mr Obama's courtesy in giving his oath in the form of words Mr Roberts gave, misplaced adverb ("faithfully") and all, was beautiful to see. To have moved it back to its rule-book position would have been to correct the Chief Justice, and to compound his embarrassment.

As it was, he spoke all the prescribed words, the shifted adverb doesn't change the meaning or intent of the sentence, and in saying "Congratulations, Mr Presdent!" the Chief Justice certified that the oath had been validly made and the formalities of installing the new President were now duly completed.

If all this was the worst flub in a long and exhausting day of ceremonies there is little to get upset about.



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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Roberts had only one single responsibility that day and he totally flubbed it up.
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 06:00 PM by w4rma
Possibly intentionally.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. and, pray tell, why would he have "flubbed" it intentionally?
Since it only serves to make him look bad?

And, as noted in a separate post, the reference to Obama as Senator was entirely appropriate and in keeping with tradition.

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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #22
35. Roberts is a partisan Federalist Society hack. (nt)
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #35
49. non-respoonsive
Why would he intentionally make himself look bad. If he's a hack who unintentionally made himself look bad, OK. But your answer doesn't make any sense.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #49
54. Right-wingers are illogical. Their logic doesn't mesh with reality. (nt)
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #19
55. You wrote:
I must say Mr Obama's courtesy in giving his oath in the form of words Mr Roberts gave, misplaced adverb ("faithfully") and all, was beautiful to see. To have moved it back to its rule-book position would have been to correct the Chief Justice, and to compound his embarrassment.

Good observation. You could almost hear the President's synapses firing as he surveyed the scene. Then, upon reflection, he chose proceed in a generous and hopeful manner.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
21. These threads are stupid -- and, btw, its was proper to refer to Obama as Senator
Good heavens, you'd think this was that other place, as people spar and debate over whether Roberts violated the Constitution by mucking up the words or whether he screwed up by inquiring of Obama whether he was prepared to take the oath "senator."

Who gives a rat's ass? The oath was administered; while the words were spoken slightly out of order, there is no case law to suggest that rearranging the words in the fashion that occurred would invalidate the oath; and even if there were, there are reports that the oath was re-administered.

As for referring to Obama as "Senator" -- that was entirely appropriate and in keeping with tradition. You can search youtube or whatever and find recordings of the swearing in of previous presidents; while most start with the beginning of the oath, some include the CJ's inquiry as to the president elect's readiness to take the oath. Carter was referred to as Governor, as was Reagan, even though neither had those positions at the time. And Ford was referred to as Vice President when he took the oath, even though Nixon's resignation was effective at 12 noon and under the Constitution, Ford became president at that moment (even if the oath wasn't administered until a couple of minutes later).

In other words, apart from some bad understanding of history and faux outrage, there isn't anything to complain about, other than the fact that Roberts and Obama tripped over each other a bit, with no one harmed in the process.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #21
32. I think people were just curious
About the protocols and customs.


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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
24. No, absolutely not. 100%. Period.
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 07:08 PM by Kurt_and_Hunter
Senator was the highest title Barack had attained before being sworn in as president.

President elect is a vernacular title, not a formal title.

Though having resigned the senate, senator was still the correct form of address. You retain the title, protocol-wise.

It thought it was cool, myself... that he was Senator Obama, then suddenly President Obama in the space of 30 seconds.

(The alternative would be for everyone to address Obama as President through the whole thing which would make the whole ceremony bizarre. I am not saying Obama wasn't already president in some legal sense, but within the protocol of the occassion I found Roberts' form of address correct withn the framework of the ceremony. I would guess that nobody has ever been addressed as president by the CJOTSCOTUS before the oath.)
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whistler162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #24
28. Shhh.. mustn't disturb the outrage of the day....
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ramblin_dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #24
43. He was president when he was sworn in.
Prior to noon he could have been called Senator since that was his highest previous title. At noon he became president. He then took the oath of office for the presidency. The oath did not transform him from senator or anything else into president. So he was President Obama when he took the oath.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #43
47. and the longstanding tradition is to use the person's highest title pre-presidency
at the swearing in. Gerald Ford became president at 12 noon when nixon's resignation took effect. Yet at his swearing in, which took place "shortly after noon" according to press reports, he was referred to as Mr. Vice President. The twentieth amendment has been around for awhile, and I doubt that any Chief Justice has checked his watch to see if its a minute before or a minute after noon when he starts to administer the oath; yet, Carter, Clinton, Reagan etc were all referred to as "Governor" even though none of them actually were governor at the time of their swearing in and most probably were already president under the noon at Jan 20 rule.
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Adenoid_Hynkel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
25. Didnt you hear? It wuz all Obamas fault Rush sez!!!!!1!!!
RUSH: There it is, folks. There it is. History in the making, with a botched oath. Where is the teleprompter when you really need it? The crowd teeming with people, showed up overnight in their broken-down Plymouths to be a part of history.
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Clear Blue Sky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:36 PM
Response to Original message
26. Wasn't he "Senator" until he took the oath of office?
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ronnykmarshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #26
34. Yeah but that doesn't matter 'round here.
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catgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #34
38. He was president at the time

and before that, he was the president-elect, not a senator (he'd already resigned)- for FYI. In this case,
particulars do matter (referring to your condescending " Yeah but that doesn't matter 'round here." defense
of Roberts). Roberts messed up in his address of Obama, and in reciting the oath. I'm sure he's tossing and
turning in bed these days due to embarrassment.
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ronnykmarshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. Good god ....
When Gore was sworn in as Vice-President the justice said "Are you ready to take the oath of office, Senator?". When Clinton was sworn in the justice said "Are you ready to take the oath of Office Governor?". I have the tape.

AND MISSY ... I NOT "defending" Roberts. So put that in your fucking pipe and SMOKE IT!!!
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catgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #40
56. You need some serious help (nt)
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ronnykmarshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #56
57. You need some serious history lessons.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #38
52. particulars do matter. Unfortunately, you have the particulars wrong
Yes, technically Obama was president when Roberts referred to him as senator, just as Ford technically was president when he was referred to as Vice President at his swearing in and just as every other president since the ratification of the 20th amendment has probably technically been president when the swearing in started, since no one is standing there with a link to Greenwich to make sure that when the CJ speaks its not a second before or a second after 12 noon. Its a tradition that goes back years -- Roberts messed up the oath, but he didn't mess up in how he referred to Obama -- at least not by the standard set by every other CJ for the past 70 plus years.

Those are the "particulars" that matter.
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catgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #34
39. I just learned Roberts administered the oath again

I guess he can sleep soundly tonight.
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ronnykmarshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. Oh you and your "defense" of Roberts!
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ramblin_dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #26
42. No, he was president when he took the oath.
The oath does not transform him from Senator (his highest previous title) or from anything else into the president. He became the president and then took the oath pertaining to that office.
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sohndrsmith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
29. does it matter? n/t
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. No, but by the same token, the entire ceremony doesn't "matter"
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 06:50 PM by jberryhill
...in any substantive sense.

It is, after all, merely a ceremony and a tradition.

So what "matters" is up to one's own sense of propriety.
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bigwillq Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
36. Obama's still our president.
No matter what Roberts said, or didn't say.

He was elected. The results were confirmed.

Enough for me.

:bounce:
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itsrobert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
46. Just part of the ceremony and the show
Nothing more. Going from Senator before the oath and to President after is just symbolic of the ceremony. Beat up Judge Roberts for being a Bush puppet and Anti-Women's Choice, etc, but to focus on this crap is making you look petty.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #46
53. those contending that Roberts shouldn't have referred to Obama as Senator aren't petty
as much as they're just uninformed. It is a longstanding tradition for the CJ to ask the president elect if they're prepared to take the office, referring to the incoming president by their previous highest office title. Ford was referred to as Vice President, Carter, Reagan, Clinton etc as "governor". And if you think none of them was sworn in a minute after 12 noon,I have a bridge to sell you.
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scheming daemons Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
50. Roberts' dad flubbed when he didn't wear a condom
...
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bridgit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
51. Has any appointment bush ever made ever been qualified for the position including Roberts?
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