Uncle Joe was born for this.
The vice president dutifully fulfilled his ceremonial duties Tuesday by re-enacting swearing-in ceremonies for senators old and new.
It’s a biennial tradition that, with Biden, can be full of surprises, outtakes and bizarrely charming moments.
For nearly two hours, Biden glad-handed, small-talked and kissed his way through swearing-in ceremonies of more than 30 senators while scores of family members and small children filed in and out for photos. An Irishman from Pennsylvania and long-time senator from Delaware himself, Biden is known for his gift of gab and a signature move in which he presses his forehead onto the forehead of nearly every woman he meets, Biden seemed right at ease.
After chitchat with each lawmaker, Biden read the text on a prepared card to swear them in for a photo op. Several times, he accidentally told the senators to repeat after him before correcting himself—they only have to say “I will.” In other cases, Biden dropped the script on the floor before beginning.
He warmly greeted each lawmaker’s parents, calling the mothers “mom,” and draped his arm over grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
“Brings back memories of my mom and dad at my first swearing in,” he told more than one set of parents. “Mom, you come over and stand next to me,” he said to Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford’s mother during the photo session.
Every child received a moment of personal attention from the vice president. At least one didn’t seem to appreciate it: Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons’ daughter pulled away when Biden went in for a cheek kiss from behind. Others stood and respectfully listened in silence. Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions’ granddaughter got her hair caught on the Bible.
Biden took selfies, and at one point even phoned Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s grandmother on a cell phone.
“She said, ‘That’s nice, I don’t have time [to talk],” he said, after he introduced himself as the vice president and put down the receiver.
It turns out Biden is actively pro-selfie, which he tweeted after the ceremony.
There were plenty of new faces – mostly Republicans – but in many cases, Biden was among old friends.
“Dick!” Biden shouted, when it was Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin’s turn. “It’s easy to swear ‘atcha.”
“The best guy in the United States Senate,” he said when Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran walked toward him. “I can say that now that, he won.”
Soon after the swearing in ceremony, the White House released this video, titled “Biden being Biden.” They seem to be embracing his charm: