Exactly when can I stop saying President-elect.
January 18, 2009 7:46 AM   Subscribe

What time will it be when Obama takes the Oath on Tuesday? The swearing in starts at 11:30, does anyone know how many prayers and speeches come before the oath and how long they'll last? I'll be at work but I can take a few minutes in the break room to see it.
posted by saffry to Law & Government (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Officially it's noon, but I don't recall it being so precise. Most schedule's I've looked at say "around noon."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 AM on January 18, 2009


Actual inaugural program: http://www.inauguration.dc.gov/events.asp
http://dc.about.com/b/2008/12/19/inauguration-swearing-in-ceremony.htm

The oath itself must be given before noon due to the 20th Amendment. Since the inaugural address is expected immediately thereafter, then "around noon" is probably still the best estimate since we don't know how long the oral oath takes. The rest of the musical selections and whatnot should be well before 11:30 a.m. EST since I believe the whole program starts in at 8:00 a.m.
posted by Ky at 8:34 AM on January 18, 2009


Obama is scheduled to take the oath at 11:56 a.m., according to page 14 of the official media guide, produced by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (you can't get more official than that).

For purely anal retentive reasons, this bothers me, even though it only jumps the gun by four minutes. The oath-taking takes only 1-2 minutes, so who's president from 11:57 to noon? I guess you can say that Obama is taking the oath in advance of becoming president instead of at the moment he becomes president, but I like to imagine some invisible mantle of power transferring from Bush to Obama at the precise moment Obama says "so help me God," so it bothers me.
posted by Tin Man at 8:46 AM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


who's president from 11:57 to noon?

George W. Bush.

If you've lasted 8 years, you can last another 3 minutes.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:56 AM on January 18, 2009


I like to imagine some invisible mantle of power transferring from Bush to Obama at the precise moment Obama says "so help me God," so it bothers me.

I'm reminded of a Terry Pratchett line. Now, the interesting transition moment will be when whitehouse.gov flips over to Obama. In 2000, I believe that the Clinton site gave way to the Bush one at "so help me God".
posted by holgate at 10:02 AM on January 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Excellent, I'll have my husband text me during "Air and Simple gifts".
posted by saffry at 12:42 PM on January 18, 2009


I like to imagine some invisible mantle of power transferring from Bush to Obama at the precise moment Obama says "so help me God," so it bothers me.

The mantle passes when the clock strikes noon, as long as he's already pledged to honor his oath.

posted by CunningLinguist at 12:47 PM on January 18, 2009


The oath-taking takes only 1-2 minutes, so who's president from 11:57 to noon? I guess you can say that Obama is taking the oath in advance of becoming president instead of at the moment he becomes president, but I like to imagine some invisible mantle of power transferring from Bush to Obama at the precise moment Obama says "so help me God," so it bothers me.

The amendment just says noon is the time that the term of the last president ends. But it doesn't say anything about a mantle of power transferring in a rigid form like you imagine. I think we can envision the transfer of power more fluidly: the power is seeping out of Bush's presidency and it is rising up in Obama's throughout the ceremony. Noon is the moment when it will have been completely drained from Bush, and will have fully transferred to Obama. In that sense, Obama is "mostly president" at 11:57 since he has been sworn in, but Bush's presidency is still gasping its last few breaths until noon, when it finally completely dies forever. Not everything (maybe nothing, really) works atomistically...

It looks like they do it at 11:56 to set up the time so that he gives his address precisely at 12:01.
posted by mdn at 1:46 PM on January 18, 2009


« Older Why is it so hard to open a bank account in the UK...   |   When did the refrigerator become message central? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.