Chris Wallace: Obama Legally President?

Is Obama constitutionally President? Chris Wallace isn’t so sure. After saying earlier in FNC’s Presidential Inauguration coverage that “it’s going to take some getting used to to call him President Obama not President-elect,” Chris Wallace questioned whether he actually was the Commander-in-Chief.*

Noting the presidential oath flubbed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Wallace said, “I have to say, I’m not sure that Barack Obama really is the President of the United States because the oath of office is set in the Constitution.” He added, “I wasn’t at all convinced that even after he tried to amend it that John Roberts ever got it out straight and that Barack Obama ever said the prescribed words.”

Nevertheless, Wallace concluded, “I suspect that everybody is going to forgive and allow him to take over as President: But, I’m not sure he actually said what’s in the Constitution there.” Britt Hume laughed that it if it ever got to the Supreme Court that Obama would have at least one vote, i.e., Chief Justice Roberts. Megyn Kelly jested, “That sounds like a case for Kelly’s court.”

*1:10 p.m. ET

Update (01/21/09): Cf. the blog of political pundit Craig Crawford (cited by Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy) for a view similar to that of Chris Wallace but a mite harsher toward the Chief Justice. Link:

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4 Responses to “Chris Wallace: Obama Legally President?”

  1. Al Says:

    Hey, the constitution says what it says and apparently somebody else with a constitutional background thought it serious enough that the president and chief justice had to take a “do-over”.

    It’s nice to know that even the President of The United States and the Chief Justice of The United States can have a little flub in a nervous situation. I’m betting C.J. Roberts figured he’d have no trouble whatsoever remembering those 32 words but the moment overwhelmed even him.

  2. jakeho Says:

    Indeed, Al. It good to see that both POTUS and the Chief Justice take the Constitution seriously.

  3. ahrcanum Says:

    So was Biden President for the day?

  4. Al Says:

    The short answer, ahrcanum, is “no”. It would require a federal court to rule that Barack Obama was not the president during that time for Biden to have that honour. I suppose the vice president would have legal standing to pursue the matter in court if he wanted, and he’d have a reasonable legal argument supporting that theory… but he’d still lose. He’d also soon be known as “former” Vice President Biden, I suspect.

    President Obama signed, as president, official nominations just after his farewells to President Bush, and the United States Senate has since confirmed some of those appointments… meaning that the Senate recognises Mr. Obama as POTUS and, thus, weakening any argument that his first oath was invalid. Still, it was a good idea that the oath was re administered for the reason jake wrote.

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