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Obama surprises Biden with Presidential Medal of Freedom

Biden's reaction is as good as it gets.


Andrew Couts


Posted on Jan 12, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 5:20 am CDT

Vice President Joe Biden never saw it coming. 

President Barack Obama on Thursday surprised Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States.

“Joe, 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 onstage,” Obama said at the end of a speech honoring Biden’s 20 years of service.

Biden then broke into tears as he received the medal. 

White House/YouTube

“Ricchetti, you’re fired,” Biden said in a joke addressing his chief of staff, Steve Ricchetti. “I had no inkling.”

Speaking to Obama, Biden said, “This honor is not only well beyond what I deserve, but it’s a reflection of the generosity of your spirit. I don’t deserve this. But I know it came from the president’s heart.”

You can watch the full event below, or skip to the award, which starts just after the 1:23 mark, here.

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*First Published: Jan 12, 2017, 6:35 pm CST