How Will Barack Obama Say “So Help Me God”? January 20, 2009

How Will Barack Obama Say “So Help Me God”?

Barack Obama is one of the best orators in political history. He knows how to emphasize certain words and give them inflection better than just about anyone.

So how will he say the controversial words “So Help Me God” after he takes the Presidential oath of office?

The Washington Post gives us a reminder of how it has been said in the past.

Harry Truman said it with dramatic half-beats between words in 1949.

Lyndon Johnson uttered it softly, almost trembling, on Air Force One in 1963.

Ronald Reagan punctuated it with a movie-star tilt of the head in 1981.

George W. Bush subtly pumped his raised hand to accent each word in 2001.

So how do you think Obama will say it?

Be descriptive — and be sure to comment before he actually says the words 🙂

(via The Invisible Pink Unicorn)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kate

    Winking? Fingers crossed behind his back? Making air quotes around “god”? 😉


    I think he will use his usual steady rhythm, almost but not quite running the words together, with the emphasis at the end. Sort of “so-help-me-GOD.” Of course that last word will have a falling inflection, giving the whole sentence weight and finality.

    It’s hard to describe but I can hear it perfectly in my head.

  • Real guess – solemnly and sincerely

    Wish-list guess – holler it in an exaggerated Texan accent then start jumping around the stage waving a cowboy hat around his head…

  • weaves

    So help me, god*

    in exasperation at what he has ahead of him

  • I agree with TKOZAK, but then after a two-count pause, he’ll smile that big toothy grin to show America that he is an OK guy. Then he’ll do the queen wave.

    Hope the weather stays nice for the shindig.

  • Philosos

    I believe he will say it like this

    So help me God

    pausing ever so slightly after saying ‘so’ and then help me and then he hits the ‘God’ with some emphasis.

  • Stephen

    so help me god.

    None of the words will have a strong emphasis. Kind of the way you say “I’m sorry” to a a sibling when a parent MAKES you say I’m sorry when you are in no way sorry whatsoever. Then, when Mom turns away, you stick you tongue out at your sibling.

  • “So help me god,” with the emphasized word being help (something quite appropriate, all things considered). He’ll do it in calm, casual demeanor. He’ll simply be reciting words, not putting an exclamation point on how Jesusy he is. That’s my prediction anyway.

  • Me

    I think he’ll moonwalk while saying “So help me” and as he says “god” he’ll do a 360 spin, then put on his sunglasses and say “Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh”.

  • I think he’ll say “So help me Allah” as he takes the oath with his hand on the Qu’ran.


  • He’ll say clearly and slowly “So help me” and then cough for the “God” part. They’ll be controversy over it for centuries. The pro-God crowd saying that he had something catch in his throat while the atheists will say that he coughed to stop himself from laughing. No-one will ever really know but a new religion will spring from this historic moment. They will call themselves the Gaaugh-odians and wear smiley faces on their clothing as a sign of their faith.

  • Karl LaFong

    What’s with the hand on the bible? As the new president he should place his hand on a copy of the US Census and ask The People to help him in his struggle to manage the nation. But it’s just a dream of mine and it won’t happen — not today but maybe some day.

  • Andrew Leslie

    Does it bother anyone else that Chief Justice Roberts added “So help you God?” at the end of the oath? The administering official should not ad-lib a line which is not part of the Constitutionally-prescribed text.

  • TKOZAK: that’s what it sounded like to me.

  • Eliza

    Does it bother anyone else that Chief Justice Roberts added “So help you God?” at the end of the oath? The administering official should not ad-lib a line which is not part of the Constitutionally-prescribed text.

    Yeah, that’s what the whole Newdow lawsuit was about. (The federal court in DC ended up deciding it didn’t have jurisdiction.) Anyway, Roberts pretty much messed up the whole oath, so that now one of the conservatrons at Fox, and others with too little to do, are saying that Obama isn’t president because he didn’t say the oath that’s in the Constitution.

    John Quincy Adams was the only president known to have sworn on something other than a Bible – he used a book of U.S. law. Franklin Pierce was the only one to “affirm” instead of “swear” the oath. On the other hand, a few presidents (most recently Nixon) swore on 2 Bibles – guess one wasn’t enough.

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