Transcript Of Obama's Joe Biden Speech Before His Presidential Medal Of Freedom Surprise
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In a surprise twist, President Barack Obama ended an event billed as a final tribute to his vice president by awarding Joe Biden with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In a speech prior to the announcement, Obama touched on Biden's many personal and professional accomplishments, hailing his contributions to the outgoing administration and applauding his personal character. The transcript of Obama's speech on Biden is heartfelt and touching reminder of the close relationship the leaders developed during their eight years in office together.

The president applauded Biden for his faith in his fellow Americans, his love of his country, and "a lifetime of service that will endure through the generations." He chose to bestow Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction, an added level of veneration reportedly awarded to only three other men since 1989 – Pope John Paul II, former President Ronald Reagan, and Gen. Colin Powell.

"I don't deserve this but I know it came from the president's heart," a visibly surprised and emotional Vice President Biden said after receiving the award from Obama.

If you missed the president's emotional tribute, take a peek at the transcript of Obama's Biden speech below.

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