Mary Fallin Suffers Constitution Oath Fail At Swearing-In Ceremony

OKLAHOMA CITY - Is she or is she not the governor of Oklahoma?

Mary Fallin was sworn in Monday as Oklahoma's first female governor, but in reciting the oath of office she really didn't promise to "support, obey and defend the Constitution."

At an outdoors ceremony in bone-chilling and teeth-chattering cold, Fallin told Oklahoma Chief Justice Steven W. Taylor that she would "support, obey and offend" the U.S. and state constitutions.

"She dropped the 'd'," Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said Wednesday. "I was amazed that anyone was able to speak at all or get any of their lines right considering how cold it was outside." It was 29 degrees and light snow was falling when Fallin recited her oath of office on the steps of the state Capitol.

In spite of the flub, Fallin's misstatement will not require a do-over and, under Oklahoma law, she is still the state's governor. Taylor said Fallin signed a written copy of the oath in the governor's office following Monday's ceremony.

"Clearly, she's going to defend the Constitution," Weintz said.

Fallin was elected last November with the endorsement of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. "Mary Fallin is another strong, smart conservative who I am proud to support," wrote Palin in a Facebook post during the midterm campaign.

The Oklahoman reported last September:

Although Fallin actively courts tea party voters, she stops short of saying she is part of the movement. "I consider myself just to be a conservative," she says later. "I hope I'm conservative for all the people, whether it's Republicans, Democrats or independents. Or tea party people."

Fallin, a former congresswoman and lieutenant governor, is not the only elected official to famously stumble through an oath of office. On Jan. 20, 2009, President Barack Obama faltered while taking his oath from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Obama interrupted Roberts midway through the opening line, then Roberts said the "faithfully execute" portion of the oath out of order and the president stopped at mid-sentence. Roberts attempted to repeat the line, but dropped the word "execute." Obama followed by repeating Roberts' initial, incorrect version.

Roberts and Obama tried again, correctly, the next day at the White House.

Two other previous presidents, Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur, also repeated their oaths because of similar issues.