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The best of Biden being Biden from the new Congress’ first day

From folksy Irish sayings to parental advice, hugs and kisses, selfies and cellphone calls from grandmothers, it was vintage Joe Biden Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

The vice president relishes his duties administering the oath to members of Congress. Here were some of the best-of-Biden moments:

  • It started off with the most consequential moment – his swearing in of Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Congratulations, Mr. Leader,” Biden said.
  • Then there was this exchange between Biden and McConnell as McConnell’s wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, was directing choreography for photographs:

    Biden to Chao: “Madam Secretary, whatever you say”
    McConnell: “You know how it works, don’t you?”
    Biden: “I sure do”

  • There were plenty of kisses and “Hey moms” to go around. Here’s one gif of Biden giving a peck on the head to Delaware Sen. Chris Coons’ daughter:

  • Biden to Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran: “Thaddeus! Best guy in the United States Senate. I can say that now, because it won’t hurt him.”

    Cochran had narrowly survived a primary challenge for reelection last year from tea party opponent Chris McDaniel.

  • Biden told Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin’s mother: “Mother of 10. No purgatory for you!”

    Biden then forgot to administer the oath of office to Durbin. Durbin reminded him. Constitutional crisis averted.

  • As Kansas Republican Pat Roberts approached, Biden, proclaims “Uh oh,” then looks at Roberts’ wife and tells her, “My sympathies” before giving her a prolonged hug.
  • Pulling a woman into the picture, Biden tells South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, “I tell you what, man, I may be Irish, but I’m not stupid.”
  • Biden tells New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker: “We’ve got something in common: sisters who are better looking than us.”

    Similarly, he tells newly minted Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican and a former Army Ranger, “Hey man, we both have something in common. We married up.”

  • Vice President Joe Biden takes a photo with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his family Tuesday after ceremonially swearing McConnell in. Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

    Vice President Joe Biden takes a photo with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his family Tuesday after ceremonially swearing McConnell in. Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

  • To Cotton’s mother: “Hey mom, how are you, congratulations!” (“Hey, moms” are a standard Biden-ism.)
  • To a toddler: “Hey, J.T., how are you? He says, ‘This is boring.’”
  • Biden also took a cellphone call from Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s grandmother: “She said, ‘Nice talking with you, but I don’t have time.’”

    Gardner, after getting the phone back from Biden, talking to his grandmother: “That really just happened, grandma.”

  • “Jamie!” to Oklahoma Republican James Lankford.
  • To the press: “Your microphone is in the way, Jack. Move it!”
  • Biden to family member of Montana Republican Steve Daines: “Hey Caroline, how old are you?” Later whispers to her brother, “Keep the guys away from your sister.”
  • Biden flubbed Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s name, calling her, “Gail,” which happens to be her husband’s name. “Um, no,” she replied. “That’s my husband’s name.”

    It’s probably not the best idea to make that kind of mistake with the person who rocketed to fame because of an ad touting her ability to castrate hogs.

    Biden later told Ernst’s daughter, 15, “I hope mom has a big fence around your house.”

  • The fence line is another repeat Biden-ism. To a granddaughter of Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, he also recycled, “I hope you have a fence around your house.”
  • He left one senator’s daughter with an Irish saying, “A son’s a son until he gets a wife. But a daughter’s a daughter for the rest of her life.” “That’s true,” she replied.
  • Biden, shaking hands with Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s daughter, 20, switched gears: “I need a hug, kid, come on.” They hugged, proceeded to take a selfie.

    Turns out my youngest Eliza is the real tech wonk, not me. Here's her selfie with @vp

    A photo posted by Mark R. Warner (@markrwarner) on

In case you’re feeling left out and need a pick me up from the vice president yourself, The Washington Post has created a “Joe Biden random compliment generator.”

God love ya.

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this post, Sen. Steve Daines was incorrectly identified as a Republican from South Dakota. He is from Montana.

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