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Biden makes it official with second term swearing-in

Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 5:49pm

Joe Biden will remain vice president for another four years, making his second term official Sunday with a swearing-in ceremony at his official residence in Northwest Washington.

Standing in the foyer of his home on the campus of the Naval Observatory, Biden was sworn in under a painting by American artist N.C. Wyeth of President Lincoln's second inaugural - an event remembered for the 16th president's solemn, somber address.

That was hardly the mood Sunday at the Naval Observatory, where Biden's extended family and a few Cabinet officials gathered to watch the vice president take his constitutional oath. His son Beau - Delaware's attorney general - was there, as were his other children, Hunter and Ashley, and a smattering of Biden grandchildren.

He placed his hand on the massive, 5-inch-thick Biden family Bible, held by his wife Jill, and repeated the oath offered by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whom Biden personally selected to administer his swearing-in.

Sotomayor, appointed by President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court in 2009, is the first Hispanic justice to administer a presidential or vice presidential oath of office. She's the fourth woman to take on those duties -- the first was federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes, who swore in Lyndon B. Johnson aboard Air Force One following John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg have both sworn in vice presidents.

"It's an incredible honor to have Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor swear me in," Biden said is a statement. "I believed strongly that she would make a great Justice, and it was one of the greatest pleasures of my career to be involved in her selection to the Court.

"I'm happy for the chance to be sworn in by a friend - and someone I know will continue to do great things," he added.

After the oath was complete, he quickly acknowledged the crowd and thanked Sotomayor.

"I thank you very, very, very much for sharing this morning with Jill and me. Madame Justice, it's been an honor," he said, before rushing off to join Obama at a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery.

The vice president's approval rating stands at 59%, with 38% saying they disapprove of the job he is doing, according to the latest CNN/Time/ORC poll released last week. Biden's approval rating is up five points from last month. Besides leading the task force on curbing gun violence, Biden also had a high profile role, along with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, in striking a deal that temporarily averted the country going over the fiscal cliff.

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