News / USA

Obama Using 2 Bibles at Swearing-In Ceremony

President Obama takes the oath of office at the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House, January 20, 2013.President Obama takes the oath of office at the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House, January 20, 2013.
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President Obama takes the oath of office at the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House, January 20, 2013.
President Obama takes the oath of office at the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House, January 20, 2013.
VOA News
When U.S. President Barack Obama takes the oath of office, he will place his hand on two Bibles.

The first is the Bible used by former President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, when he took the oath of office for the first of his two terms in 1861.  The second Bible is the so-called "traveling Bible" used by slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Monday is the official government holiday honoring Reverend King who was assassinated in 1968.

President Obama was officially sworn-in for a second term Sunday during a brief, private ceremony at the White House, making Monday's public event ceremonial.  He used his wife Michelle's family Bible for the oath Sunday.

The presidential term ends on the Constitutionally-mandated date of January 20, which fell this year on a Sunday when courts and public offices are closed.  Tradition holds that in such cases the president is sworn-in privately on the 20th with the public ceremony taking place on the following Monday.

Monday's swearing-in will be the fourth time Obama takes the oath of office.

Obama was also sworn-in twice for his first term in 2009.  During the first ceremony, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts stumbled over one of the words while administering the oath, so the oath was given again one day later.

As a result, Obama will be the first president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to take the oath of office four times.  Roosevelt, though, was elected four times, in 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944.

Also Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden took the oath of office on a Bible that has been used by his family since 1893.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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