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Hawaii's Schatz sworn in as new senator

Vice President Joe Biden swears in Hawaii's Lieutenant Gov. Brian Schatz as a new senator to replace the late Daniel Inouye.

With a ride on Air Force One already under his belt, the newest member of the United States Senate took his oath of office Thursday, less than 24 hours after the governor of his home state announced he'd be tapped for the job.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who replaces the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden at 2:36pm ET.

Schatz most recently served as the state's lieutenant governor and previously led Hawaii's Democratic party. Gov. Neil Abercrombie picked his 40 year-old deputy over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who was Inouye's choice to be his successor.

With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eager to assemble every Democratic vote possible as the "fiscal cliff" approaches, Schatz rushed to Washington after his appointment was announced yesterday. He hitched a ride with President Barack Obama, who cut his Hawaii vacation short to return home for work on a potential deal to avert the automatic spending cuts and tax increases slated for January 1.

"It was a lovely flight," Schatz said upon his arrival, according to a pool report. "I slept almost the whole way."

Schatz said he was informed of his appointment to the seat yesterday at about 1 p.m. and that he didn't know he would be riding on Air Force One until later in the day. His family flew commercially to be present for the swearing-in.

The scramble also included a hasty purchase of a heavy overcoat for the transition to the chilly D.C. climate.

"I bought this coat yesterday," he told reporters, gesturing to his new outerwear.