• JFK’s inauguration almost went up in flames when the podium caught fire as Cardinal Richard Cushing was delivering the invocation. Thank goodness his robes didn’t light up, and Kennedy even managed a smile.
• One of the most awkward moments in inauguration history occurred in 2009, when Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the oath during Obama’s public ceremony—putting the word “faithfully” in the wrong place. It was a small slip of the tongue, but since it raised concerns that Obama may not have been properly sworn in, they repeated the 35 words, in the right order this time, in private the next day at the White House.
• But the prize for most botched oath goes to Lyndon B. Johnson, who took the vice-presidential oath during JFK’s inauguration “without any mental reservation whatever,” instead of “without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”
• Jimmy Carter took his inauguration in stride when he walked from the Capitol to the White House in the ceremony parade (the only other president to do so was Thomas Jefferson).
• No one throws a party like Abraham Lincoln, whose inauguration was so wild, the police had to be called in.
Did you watch the second inauguration of President Obama?