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Joe Biden sworn in for second term as vice president

January 20, 2013|By Paul West
  • Vice President Joe Biden takes the oath of office, administered by Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, at the United States Naval Observatory.
Vice President Joe Biden takes the oath of office, administered by Associate… (AP Photo )

Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in for a second term early this morning in a low-key ceremony at his official residence in Washington.

Since inauguration day fell on a Sunday, Biden and President Obama chose to follow tradition and be sworn in privately today. They will reenact their oaths at Monday’s public inaugural ceremony at the Capitol.

Biden chose to be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and agreed to an early morning ceremony to allow Sotomayor to attend a book signing for her new memoir this afternoon in New York.

The guests at the vice presidential residence on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory included members of Biden’s family, senior administration officials and a smattering of Democratic officials from key primary states – a reminder that the vice president continues to have hopes this swearing in may not be his last. He would be the oldest person ever sworn in as president if he ran and won.

On Sunday night, Biden is scheduled to hold an inaugural reception for political supporters from around the country. They include Democrats who are prominent players in the early presidential primaries.

On Tuesday he will attend a reception for members of the Democratic National Committee. All are automatic delegates to the party’s presidential nominating convention.

Maggie Hassan, the governor of New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first primary, was among the guests. So were several big city mayors, including Los Angeles’ Antonio Villaraigosa,  heads of major unions and Democratic party activists.

After a prayer from the Rev. Kevin O’Brien of Georgetown University, Biden took the oath shortly after 8:20 eastern time, surrounded by family members with his hand on a Bible held by his wife, Jill Biden.

Sotomayor, who will re-administer the oath to Biden at the Capitol ceremony Monday, is the first Latina and third woman to swear in a vice president.

The last time inauguration day fell on a Sunday, in 1985, Vice President George H. W. Bush was sworn in at the White House minutes before President Reagan took the oath for the second time.

At 70, Biden becomes the second-oldest man to enter the office of vice president.  Only Alben W. Barkley -- 71 when his single term as Harry Truman’s vice president began in 1949 -- was older.

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