Nothing says congratulations like the gift of castration, right?
Fellow Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina reminded her of her roots with a gift on her first official day as a senator. Appropriately, it was a castration device mounted on a wooden frame. Engraved on the plaque accompanying the device was Ernst's campaign pledge: "Make 'em squeal."
"That commercial was probably the most effective commercial in the last 20 years and this phrase I think is what that election is all about," Graham told ABC News' Jeff Zeleny. Asked to describe the device, Graham said, "This is what makes you squeal if you're a pig."
"Apparently in the old days this is how you did castration of farm animals, and I can't even talk about this without getting nervous," Graham added. "All I can say is that when I saw that commercial, it stuck with me."
In addition to the gift, Ernst was also on the receiving end of a gaffe, courtesy of Vice President Joe Biden. Just before he performed Ernst's mock-swearing in, Biden mistakenly referred the Iowa Republican by her husband's name, Gail.
"Mr. Vice President, Joni," Ernst corrected him politely. "My husband's Gail."
"It's getting late, man," the VP apologized.