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Senators Attend Inauguration; Noem Stays Away

January 21, 2013, 4:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Senators Attend Inauguration; Noem Stays Away

The nation watched Monday as President Barack Obama became the 17th president sworn in for a second term.

It was the 57th inauguration of a president and members of South Dakota's delegation all had varying roles and experiences, from sitting at lunch with the newly-elected leader to not even attending at all.

In politically-divided Washington, DC, leaders from both parties came together for the ceremonial swearing in of the president in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands on the National Mall.

Prominent South Dakota Democrats were there to witness the inauguration, including Senator Tim Johnson and former US Senator Tom Daschle.

Some Republicans, however, did not attend Monday's events including Representative Kristi Noem. Her office tells KELOLAND News that South Dakota's lone member in the House of Representatives was not there due to a previously scheduled family commitment.

But Republican Senator John Thune, who was shown walking onto the inaugural platform with Secretary of State Nominee Senator John Kerry, attended several inauguration activities.

Senator Thune talked about the political mood in Washington with CBS News Monday.

"Inaugurals are always times of new beginnings, fresh starts if you will, and I hope this presents that opportunity for us. The President, if he will reach out to Republicans on Capitol Hill, and Democrats for that matter, I think we can do some good things together," Thune said.

As one of the top-ranking Republicans in the Senate, Thune was also at the inaugural luncheon and he stressed the importance of both parties coming together for the swearing-in of a president.

"But at an inaugural, it's a time that no matter if you're a Republican or Democrat, you appreciate the fact that in this country we can have a smooth transition of power, and for at least a period of time we can put our differences aside and just appreciated the fact that we're Americans," Thune said.

Thune also hopes now that the president is not up for re-election he will be willing to work with Republicans and show leadership on some of the tough issues facing the country.

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