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Cory Booker Officially Swears In As Newest U.S. Senator

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WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Former Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in as a Democratic senator from New Jersey on Thursday, taking the oath of office, exchanging hugs with Vice President Joe Biden and acknowledging the applause of friends and family members seated in the visitor’s gallery that rings the chamber.

Booker became the second African American in the Senate, alongside Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Booker, 44, was elected to fill out the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year.

Booker says he is ready to get to work and his first day in office was a busy one. Before taking the oath of office, he and his mother met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Minutes after being sworn in, he participated in his first roll call vote, supporting an attempt by Democrats to advance the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C. to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Booker also was to meet later in the day with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Booker placed his hand on his own Bible as Biden led him in reciting the oath of office.

His oath-taking gave Democrats control of 55 Senate seats, counting two held by independents. Republicans hold 45.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)