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At the ceremony, the president joked to congressional leaders he was confident the nominations would be handled "at great dispatch."

Sen. Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE (D-Nev.) also appeared to snag one of the ceremonial pens being used to sign the official nominations. Observing the move, the president offered Reid a pen from his jacket pocket instead.

The White House also announced that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric ShinsekiEric ShinsekiShulkin confirmed to lead Dept. of Veterans Affairs Dems to Trump: Exclude VA from hiring freeze Dems, GOP battle over pace of Trump confirmations MORE would be the Cabinet official sitting out the inaugural festivities, a security precaution taken for large collections of top leaders. Shinseki is sixteenth in the presidential line of succession, above only Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

Obama also signed a proclamation to commemorate the inauguration while at the Capitol.


—This post was updated at 12:50 p.m.