POLITICS: White House

Obama officially signs Cabinet nominations

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Photo -   FILE - This Jan. 7, 2013 file photo shows, President Barack Obama and his choice for Defense Secretary, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, left, and his choice for new CIA Director, current Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Minutes after his inauguration speech Monday, President Barack Obama signed documents officially submitting top administration nominations to the Senate. Obama affirmed the nominations of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, former Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state and Jack Lew for Treasury secretary. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
FILE - This Jan. 7, 2013 file photo shows, President Barack Obama and his choice for Defense Secretary, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, left, and his choice for new CIA Director, current Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Minutes after his inauguration speech Monday, President Barack Obama signed documents officially submitting top administration nominations to the Senate. Obama affirmed the nominations of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, former Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state and Jack Lew for Treasury secretary. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Politics,White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Minutes after his inauguration speech Monday, President Barack Obama signed documents officially submitting top administration nominations to the Senate.

Obama affirmed the nominations of John Brennan to be CIA director, former Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state and Jack Lew for treasury secretary.

Obama also signed a proclamation to commemorate the inauguration. The proclamation is entitled "National Day of Hope and Resolve, 2013."

"I'm proclaiming peace on Earth and goodwill towards men," Obama quipped as he signed the document.

Obama signed the documents at a traditional inauguration day ceremony in the Capitol's President's Room, a small ornate room near the Senate chamber where presidents historically conducted business. Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic and Republican congressional leaders attended the short, light-hearted ceremony.

President Ronald Reagan established the tradition of visiting the room after taking the oath of office to sign documents and pose for photographs.

As he signed the nomination papers, Obama said, "I know they will be dealt with with great dispatch," eliciting laughter from the Republican leaders.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Kerry on Thursday. Kerry remains the panel's chairman until his Senate confirmation, but Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the incoming chairman, will preside at the hearing.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Hagel on Jan. 31. Brennan's hearing in the Senate Intelligence committee is Feb. 7.

The Senate Finance Committee has yet to schedule a hearing for Lew.

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Associated Press writers Donna Cassata and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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