Bill Nelson, Mel Martinez welcome Al Franken
"I think you've seen by his statements thus far that the new senator from Minnesota is going to be independently minded," Nelson said afterward. "And representing a constituency from Minnesota, I think that's where his people are. I don't think you can count on his vote ideologically one way or another. In the end, he'll end up being more middle mainstream."
While even the Republican Martinez found time to attend, many senators of both parties were not present in the Senate chamber for the 12:15 p.m. ceremony. Franken is actually the 58th Democrat, but two independents -- Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut -- caucus with the party.
(photo: Getty Images)