'Snot-nosed little brother' shines
As House Speaker John Boehner — the second of 12 siblings — prepared to be sworn in Wednesday, family members said they had their tissues ready. Bob Boehner, the oldest of Boehner's brothers, said many of the 70 family members who saw the ceremony were emotional, but the handful allowed in the chamber experienced an especially touching moment. Blinking back tears, Bob Boehner said, "It's kind of surreal. He wasn't any different growing up. He was the same snot-nosed little brother. He's gotten it together really quite well. I know he cries a lot. There are some of us that are just as emotional."
Rep. Paul, Sen. Paul: Rep. Ron Paul smiled proudly in the Senate chamber as Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office to his son Rand Paul, the new junior senator from Kentucky. "It's pretty significant," said the elder Paul, R-Texas, who hours later was sworn in for a 12th two-year term in the House. "I felt pretty good about it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience." And a historic one. Their swearing-ins marked the first time in congressional history that a child served in the Senate while the parent served in the House, according to the Senate historian's office.
Faces new and old: Of 94 new members of the House, 85 are Republican. Vice President Joe Biden swore in 35 new and returning senators, including 12 newly elected Republicans. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., become the longest-serving woman senator in history, surpassing Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, R-Maine, who served four terms until her defeat in 1972.
Black Caucus gets GOP member: The liberal Congressional Black Caucus has sworn in its first Republican member in more than a decade, welcoming newly elected Rep. Allen West of Florida at a ceremony Wednesday. West and Tim Scott of South Carolina were elected in November as the first black Republicans in Congress since former Rep. J.C. Watts left eight years ago. Scott declined to join the 43-member caucus, which elected Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver as its new chairman.
Obama press secretary resigns: Robert Gibbs is stepping down as press secretary amid a string of staff changes meant to carry the White House through the 2012 re-election campaign and parry the Republican takeover of the U.S. House. President Barack Obama is expected to announce his new economic adviser on Friday and may also anoint a new chief of staff in the coming days.
BACHMANN FOR PRESIDENT? U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is the keynote speaker at a GOP event in the early presidential caucus state of Iowa later this month, and Andy Parrish, Bachmann's chief of staff, said Wednesday that the tea party favorite has "not ruled out" a bid for president.