Photos: 40 years ago, a Minnesotan was sworn in to the White House

Jimmy Carter gives his inaugural address as the 39th President.
President Jimmy Carter makes his inaugural address as the 39th President of the United States during his inauguration on Jan. 20, 1977. Sitting to his right is Vice President Walter Mondale. Carter that day spoke of a new spirit for the country.
Associated Press file 1977

On Friday, America's 45th president will be sworn into office. Forty years ago — on Jan. 20, 1977 — Minnesota's Walter Mondale was sworn in as President Jimmy Carter's vice president.

Portrait of  Walter Mondale, shortly after he became vice president.
Portrait of Walter Mondale, shortly after he became vice president.
Warren K. Leffler | Library of Congress

Because of Watergate and other scandals earlier in the 1970's, Mondale that day became America's fourth vice president — after Agnew, Ford and Rockefeller — in as many years.

His swearing-in ceremony was held on the U.S. Capitol's east portico in 28-degree weather. It was the last time an inauguration was be held on that side of the building; since then, they've been set on the western side, which faces the National Mall.

While the Supreme Court's chief justice is always the person to swear in the president, vice presidents choose their presiders, often other Supreme Court justices. Vice President Joe Biden has taken the oath twice: Once from Justice John Paul Stevens and once from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

But Mondale noted in a recent interview that he looked to the legislative branch for his swearing-in instead: He asked Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, speaker of the House of Representatives, to officiate.

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"I called Tip, who's an old friend, and asked him if he'd swear me in. And of course he was happy to do it," he said.

O'Neill walked Mondale through the vice presidential oath. In 1884, Congress declared that the vice president should swear the same oath that's given to members of Congress — he or she is, after all, the president of the U.S. Senate:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

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