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GOP FUND-RAISER SWORN IN AS HEAD OF COMMERCE

Barbara Franklin, a Republican fund-raiser and businesswoman, was sworn in Monday to head the Commerce Department at a period of agitation over the economy.

Franklin, a Connecticut native who served in government periodically over the past two decades and has strong personal ties to President Bush, understated the nervousness, saying, "We are in a time of transition (that) tests our resolve."Franklin was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the only woman member of the court, who asked her before administering the oath of office if she was ready to "make women's history." She gave an enthusiastic nod.

Bush, who attended the ceremony at the Commerce Department with his wife Barbara, praised the Harvard graduate's "courage, intensity (and) vision," saying she would "help us compete in a new world economy and create a new American century."