Joe Biden was surprised Thursday during an emotional moment when President Barack Obama presented the vice president with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Joe Biden was in true Biden form, shedding tears as he was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“To know Joe Biden is to know love without pretense, service without self-regard, and to live life fully,” Obama said. “As one of his long-time colleagues in the senate who happened to be a Republican once said, ‘if you can’t admire Joe Biden as a person, you have got a problem.’ He is as good a man as God ever created.”
“For your faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and for your lifetime of service that will endure through the generations, I’d like to ask the military aide to join us on stage,” Obama said during the White House ceremony. “For my final time as President, I am pleased to award our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
Biden became emotional during the tribute and was seen tearing up. He accepted the award but said he did not deserve it.
“This honor is not only well beyond what I deserve, but it’s a reflection of the extent and generosity of your spirit,” Biden said. “I don’t deserve this but I know it came from the President’s heart.”
Talking Points Memo reports:
Obama said that he added an additional level of veneration to the medal for the first time in his presidency. The last three presidents awarded this level to Pope John Paul II, former President Ronald Reagan and General Colin Powell, Obama said.
After the President awarded him the medal, Biden gave an emotional speech that he started in true form: with a joke, ribbing his chief of staff Steve Ricchetti for misleading him to get him to the surprise event.
“Steve Ricchetti, you’re fired,” he joked.
“I had—I had no inkling,” Biden continued. “I thought we were coming over, Michelle, for you Jill, Barack and I to — and a couple senior staff to toast one another and say what an incredible journey it’s been.”
Obama noted that while their term is almost over the two will be “forever binded as a family.”
We’re watching the end of Obama/Biden, a team which brought class, humor and compassion to the White House, while the incoming president displays temper tantrums, name calling and intolerance.
You know you’re going to miss Joe, too.
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