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Transcript: Rice's Swearing in Ceremony

FDCH E-media
Friday, January 28, 2005; 11:43 AM

Transcript from the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony of Condoleezza Rice. Speakers: President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

GINSBURG: It is a pleasure to participate in the investiture of Condoleezza Rice, my good neighbor, as secretary of state.

When Stanford's new president, Gerhard Casper, named then Professor Rice provost more than a decade ago, he said, "Stanford University is most fortunate in persuading someone of Professor Rice's exceptional talents and proven ability in critical situations to take on this task."

President Casper noted as exemplary Dr. Rice's distinguished work in political science, her early service on the National Security Council, her accomplishments on the ice and at the piano, and her grasp of the finer points of professional football.


President Bush, working closely with Dr. Rice during her tenure as national security adviser, is similarly fortunate in persuading a woman of Condoleezza Rice's exceptional talents and proven ability in critical situations to serve as secretary of state.

Madam Secretary, all of us here hope that you will thrive in your new office, fostering the values that unite us and make our nation great, to the advantage of all the people in our world.

GINSBERG: Before I administer the oath, please indulge me minute more, to relate a bit of history about the words our new secretary will repeat.

An oath or affirmation to support and defend the Constitution is required by Article 6 of our fundamental instrument of government for all office holders, state and federal.

The Constitution tells us, in Article 2, Section 1, what oath the president shall take, but it does not set out the words for other office holders.

Our highly practical first Congress appreciated the urgent need to staff the new government. To that end, Congress adopted a law providing for the oath as its very first act.

Congress' second act, a measure less inspiring, was a protective tariff on a long list of imported goods, ranging from molasses to pickled fish.


The original oath was sparer than the one now prescribed. It read simply, "I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States."

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the oath was augmented to include a promise to defend the Constitution against all enemies, domestic and foreign.

In 1868, the war over and the Union preserved, the order was changed to place foreign enemies before domestic.


The oath I will now ask Secretary Rice to repeat dates from that time.

Madam Secretary?

I, Condoleezza Rice, do solemnly swear...

RICE: I, Condoleezza Rice, do solemnly swear...

GINSBERG: ... that I will support and defend...

RICE: ... that I will support and defend...

GINSBERG: ... the Constitution of the United States...

RICE: ... the Constitution of the United States...

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