WASHINGTON -- Cory Booker, the former Democratic mayor of Newark, was sworn in as a United States senator from New Jersey just after Thursday noon, winning a standing ovation and some chuckles for a couple of awkward moments.
He was escorted into the Senate chamber by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), whom Vice President Joe Biden addressed first as "Frank" -- the name of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, whom Booker is replacing. Biden was there to read Booker the oath of office.
"Come on up here, Frank ... Bob," the vice president said, correcting himself.
Sitting in the chamber were dozens of other Democrats and three Republicans, including the only other African-American senator at the moment, Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Booker is the first African American elected to the Senate since Barack Obama won the presidency. Scott, Roland Burris and Mo Cowan -- the latter two served only briefly -- were all appointed to fill vacancies between elections.
Booker's first official act was to vote for the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. He stepped forward when his name was called and stuck his index finger up, signaling an "aye" vote. Senators do vote that way, but more often give a thumbs up or down. The crowded gallery chuckled pleasantly, and a smiling Booker looked like maybe he wished he'd done it differently.
Watch Biden in the above video, and see the vote below.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.
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