JFK's Inauguration was full of mishaps?
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The 1961 Inauguration was a mess, according to Bendat, an author and presidential historian. For starters, Lyndon Johnson botched the vice presidential oath; instead of saying "without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion" he said, "without any mental reservation whatever." Whoops.
Then as Cardinal Richard Cushing was delivering the invocation, the podium caught fire because of an electrical short in the system. Bendat said a look of concern crossed the faces of Kennedy and out-going President Eisenhower, but the Associated Press reported Kennedy allowed "a flitting smile" after it was clear that the cardinal was out of danger.
As if disrupting the sanctity of the invocation were not enough, a poem for the president was disrupted, too. The Inaugural poet, Robert Frost, had written a special poem for that occasion. But the bright, bright sun - reflecting off the snow that had fallen overnight – prevented Frost from being able to read it. Vice President Johnson tried to use his top hat to shade the poem for Frost, but he still couldn't see it. Frost then recited from memory a different poem, called "The Gift Outright."