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Hillary Clinton sworn in as secretary of state

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  • NEW: Sen. John McCain urges colleagues to confirm Hillary Clinton
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Hillary Clinton was sworn in as the 67th U.S. secretary of state Wednesday afternoon after the Senate approved her nomination by a vote of 94-2.

Hillary Clinton gets sworn in Wednesday in her Senate office by Judge Kathryn Oberly.

Hillary Clinton gets sworn in Wednesday in her Senate office by Judge Kathryn Oberly.

Former President Clinton and her Senate staff looked on as Clinton's childhood friend and D.C. Court of Appeals Associate Judge Kathryn Oberly swore her in on a Bible belonging to the former first lady's late father in a ceremony in her Senate office.

The senators who opposed Clinton's confirmation were Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, and David Vitter, R-Louisiana.

Keeping with tradition, America's new chief diplomat will be treated to a welcoming ceremony with employees Thursday morning in the State Department, agency officials said.

Immediately after the ceremony, Clinton submitted her resignation from the Senate with identical one-sentence letters to Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as president of the Senate, Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson and New York Gov. David Paterson.

Paterson must appoint a replacement in the Senate. The governor, who had said he would not name his choice until after Clinton's confirmation, told CNN's "American Morning" on Monday that he had not made a decision.

"I'm actually, I think, narrowing the field to about half of the people who are involved, and then I would hope, in the next few days, to get down to one," he told CNN's John Roberts.

Some of the better-known candidates, including Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Steve Israel, have pledged not to wage a primary fight against Paterson's pick in the 2010 special election to finish the final two years of Clinton's term.

Clinton's confirmation was held up Tuesday when Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn objected to a voice vote, demanding a roll-call vote instead.

Cornyn said he knew that Clinton would be confirmed but said he delayed the vote because he wanted more time to talk about the foundation run by her husband.

The former president signed an agreement with the Obama transition team pledging to limit foreign donations and to release annual disclosures of new donations to his foundation.

"My concern is not whether our colleague Sen. Clinton is qualified to be secretary of state or not. She is," Cornyn said.

"But we should not let our respect for Sen. Clinton or our admiration for the many good works of the Clinton Foundation blind us to the danger of perceived conflicts of interest caused by the [foundation's] solicitation of hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign and some domestic sources," he said. "The perception and reality must be that the office of secretary of state is viewed around the world as beyond reproach."

Clinton was defended by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who used his first floor speech since the end of the presidential campaign to urge his colleagues to confirm her quickly as secretary of state. iReport.com: Share your thoughts on Obama's cabinet

"I think the message that the American people are sending us now is they want us to work together and get to work," McCain said. "I think we ought to let Sen. Clinton, who is obviously qualified and obviously will serve, get to work immediately."

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McCain confidantes told CNN that the senator developed a genuinely deep admiration for Clinton during the drawn-out Democratic primary process. Both senators also sit on the Armed Services Committee and had become close on several congressional delegation trips abroad.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 16-1 last week in favor of Clinton's nomination, with Vitter casting the sole dissenting vote.

CNN's Dana Bash, Ed Hornick and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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