Clinton Thanks Husband ‘For a Lifetime of All Kinds of Experiences’

Feb 2, 2009 5:45pm

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz and Jennifer Duck report: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood alongside former President Bill Clinton, mother Dorothy Rodham and daughter Chelsea Clinton for the formal swearing in of the 67th Secretary of State.

But the ceremony wasn’t as formal as one might expect. 

Before the event began, actor and comedian Chevy Chase distracted the crowd by standing in front of a line full of cameras blocking their shots. He joked, "Am I in the way?" as the cameras snapped away at guest who seemed just a bit unlike the others in the room.

Just weeks after taking a jab at Chief Justice Roberts for his missteps when administering the oath for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden stumbled on a few words himself as he did the honors administering the oath for Clinton. Roberts twist of words caused the precautionary White House to swear in President Obama for a second time, but Clinton’s ceremony today was already her second — a special ceremony for friends and cameras to see, unfortunately for the VP.

Before his stumble Biden said he was a "Hillary Clinton fan."

"Never did I think, by the way, Madame Secretary, I’d get to swear you in as secretary of State. Never did I think about being vice president," Biden said to a room full of laughter.

After the oath, Clinton joked, "As Joe laughingly referenced, neither one of us thought that we would be standing here together, doing what we are now doing together. Life has a funny way of unfolding. And politics is even stranger."

But the crowd roared even louder with laughter after the new Secretary thanked her husband and cracked a joke that made the former president turn beet red.

"I am so grateful to him for a lifetime of all kinds of experiences," Secretary Clinton said as the crowd erupted with laughter and applause, "which have given me an extraordinary richness that I am absolutely beholden to and grateful for."

The decorated room on the eighth floor of the State Department was full of Washington insiders. Four previous secretaries of State attended the ceremony. Obama Transition co-Chairman and Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was seen chatting with former Secretary of State James Baker. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid were also in attendance. 

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