WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSMiami/AP) — The commander-in-chief has awarded Vice President Joe Biden with the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“I had no inkling this was coming,” a surprised Biden said at a media event at the White House Thursday.
President Obama set up the ruse, of which seemingly everyone but the VP was in on, calling the press conference to honor Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a recognition for individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to world peace and the national interests of the United States.
“Faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and a lifetime of service that will endure through the generations.”
President Obama said choosing Joe Biden to be his vice president was the first and best choice he made, telling a teary-eyed VP it was for his “faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and a lifetime of service that will endure through the generations.”
He said Biden — “the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son” — has not only been a great vice president during the past eight years, but he also was an unexpected gift.
Obama added that in Biden, he gained a brother, saying he loves Biden and his wife, Jill, like family and their friendship has been one of the “great joys” for the Obama family.
“I’m indebted to you,” Biden told Obama. “I’m indebted to you and I’m indebted to your family.”
The Bidens were in the audience at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center for Obama’s farewell address.
Obama and Biden embraced onstage after the speech.
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