Fresh off his big win negotiating the country away from the fiscal cliff, Vice President Joe Biden posed and schmoozed with new and returning senators on Thursday, ceremonially re-enacting for the cameras their earlier swearing in. And it was clearly "the Biden show in the Old Senate Chamber," says Rachel Rose Hartman at Yahoo News. In his role as president of the Senate, the vice president "turned himself into a one-man welcoming committee for the newly elected senators in the way only Biden could accomplish." And what a show it was, says David Weigel at Slate. If you watch the entire 86-minute event (or watch Talking Point Memo's much-shorter highlights reel below), you'll see that "Biden's 'gaffe-prone nature' is actually evidence of him being a fairly normal, goofy person, with a sense of humor that hits at least 60 percent of the time." Here are some of the best (and weirdest) lines Biden deployed for the lawmakers and their families:
"Spread your legs — you're gonna be frisked!"
Biden directed this at the husband of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) after a photographer told him to put his hands by his side. With Heitkamp laughing, Biden elaborated that when you say "drop your hands to your side" to "somebody in North Dakota, they think it's a frisk." When the husband just shrugged, Bided quipped: "I'm a little too formal, I know."
"Mom, I'll see you in a little bit.... I hope I'll sneak over and see you."
The vice president called every senator's mother "mom," but in this case, he was near-flirting with Sen. Bob Casey's (D-Pa.) mother. "You've got beautiful eyes, mom," he said to the mom of Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).
"It's a Democrat, I know! But it's okay!"
This was Biden's smiling attempt to soothe the toddler-age daughter of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after he picked her up and she started crying. Cruz's wife assured Biden that the girl cries for Republicans, too.
"Need any help on your pecs, man, give me a call."
Biden was obviously impressed by the physique of Sen. Tim Scott's (R-S.C.) brother, a former football player who is now in the Army. "This guy looks like he still plays for South Carolina. Gamecocks!"
"No serious guys until you're 30."
This was Biden's advice to a granddaughter of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Among the other wisdom he dropped on the young woman: "You know what I tell my grandkids? Take care of your grandfather. That's your most important job."
"You are so pretty. God love you, holy mackerel."
This aside was to a brunette in a red dress, apparently there with bachelor Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
"You gonna build a fence around the house? A lotta machine guns?"
Biden addressed this question to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), inquiring about her daughters.
"If I were a bettin' man, I woulda made a lot of money on this guy."
Pointing to Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who just won an upset election against Republican Richard Mourdock.
"Anybody else want to be sworn in as a senator today?"
Biden shouted this question to the crowd during a lull in the photos.
Watch Biden in action: