Bloomberg Forgets the Bible

Apparently New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg forgot to place his hand on the Bible when he was sworn in to a third term yesterday. Here is the report from Michael Barbaro of The New York Times.

A few hours before the inauguration on Friday, the mayor’s aides distributed an exhaustive description of the Bible that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg would use to take the oath of office.

It belongs to his mother, Charlotte. It was printed in 1909 by the Canal Street Hebrew Publishing Company in Manhattan. Its translator? Isaac Leeser.

With so much attention paid to the book’s origin, it was a wonder that nobody reminded the mayor to place his hand on it as he was sworn in.

As Mr. Bloomberg recited the oath of office, he held his right hand in the air, and dropped his left hand to his side. The Bloomberg family Bible, held by his two daughters, Emma and Georgina, hovered, conspicuously handless.

At the end of the oath, as if recognizing the error, the mayor briefly made contact with the volume, like a baseball player coming back to touch home plate.

Did it still count if his left hand wandered?

Technically, yes. Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the mayor, said that neither a Bible nor a hand placed upon it is required to be successfully sworn in. “An atheist could be mayor,” Mr. Loeser said.

Explaining the mayor’s hands-off approach, Mr. Loeser said that in the past, the judge who presided prompted Mr. Bloomberg to put his hand on the Bible. On Friday, Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the State of New York, merely said, “Raise your right hand and repeat after me.”

Which is exactly what Mr. Bloomberg did.