Barack Obama bids adieu to Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
The president bestowed the medal "with distinction," an additional level of veneration that his three immediate predecessors had reserved for only three others.
Amid the tearful days of farewell to the White House, US President Barack Obama conferred US highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom to his confidante and aide for past 8 years, Vice President Joe Biden.
Calling his man Biden “the finest vice president we have ever seen,” Obama shocked his buddy who winced and looked away from cameras to wipe his tears. While his tenure was being appraised, Biden stood stoically when Obama draped the blue-and-white ribbon around his neck.
While the audience applauded with standing ovations, the duo shared a warm hug after which Biden took the stage to express his thoughts, insisting that he didn't deserve it.
“I just hope that the asterisk in history that is attached to my name when they talk about this presidency is that I can say I was part of the journey of a remarkable man who did remarkable things for this country,” Biden said.
The president bestowed the medal "with distinction," an additional level of veneration that his three immediate predecessors had reserved for only three others - Pope John Paul II, former president Ronald Reagan and Gen. Colin Powell.
Obama described Biden as a "lion of American history" and praised his long service in the Senate. Obama embraced a common Biden tactic in his remarks by including a quote from an Irish poet and words of wisdom from the vice president's parents.The president also spoke of their friendship forged through tough times and tragedy.
Biden recounted that Obama offered help when Biden's son was battling cancer and the vice president was weighing whether to sell his house to cover the bills."I'll give you the money," Biden recalled Obama telling him. "Promise me. Promise me you won't sell that house."
Biden said that he and Obama had on occasion differed on matters of policy, but that he had never doubted Obama's judgment.
Biden closed by grabbing the medal, which had been draped around his neck, and lifting it off his chest. "This honor is not only well beyond what I deserve but it is a reflection of the extent and generosity of your spirit," he said, turning to the president. "I don't deserve this, but I know it came from the president's heart."
However, cheering up with the thought of their famous internet memes, Obama said, “This also gives the internet one last chance to talk about our bromance.”