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Obama officially signs Cabinet nominations

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.

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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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