Obama’s surprise brings Joe Biden to tears


PRIVATE PHONE NUMBER AND KEEPS IN TOUCH WITH THEM LONG AFTER. TO KNOW JOE BIDEN IS TO KNOW THAT LOVE WITHOUT PRETENSE, SERVICE WITHOUT SELF-REGARD, AND TO LIVE LIFE FULLY. 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’VE GOT A PROBLEM. HE IS AS GOOD A MAN AS GOD EVER CREATED. SO, 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 AID TO JOIN US ON STAGE. FOR THE FINAL TIME AS PRESIDENT, I AM PLEASED TO AWARD OUR NATION’S HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONOR, THE PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM. [ APPLAUSE ] AND FOR THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME IN MY PRESIDENCY, I WILL BESTOW THIS MEDAL WITH AN ADDITIONAL LEVEL OF VENERATION, AN HONOR MY PREDECESSORS RESERVED FOR THREE OTHERS, POPE JOHN PAUL II, PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN AND COLONEL COLIN POWELL. I AM PLEASE TODAY AWARD THIS DISTINCTION TO MY BROTHER, JOSEPH BIDEN, JR. WILL THE AIDE PLEASE READ THE CITATION?>>VICE-PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., IN A CAREER OF PUBLIC SERVICE EXTENDING NEARLY HALF A CENTURY, VICE-PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., HAS LEFT HIS MARK ON ALMOST EVERY PART OF OUR NATION. FIGHTING FOR A STRONGER MIDDLE CLASS, A FAIRER JUDICIAL SYSTEM, AND A SMARTER FOREIGN POLICY, PROVIDING UNYIELDING SUPPORT FOR OUR TROOPS, COMBATTING CRIME AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, LEADING OUR QUEST TO CURE CANCER, AND SAFEGUARDING THE LAND MAMARK RECOVERY FROM CORRUPTION. WITH HIS CHARM, CANDOR, UNA BARBED OPTIMISM AND DEEP AND ABIDING PATRIOTISM, JOE BIDEN HAS GARNERED THE RESPECT AND ESTEEM OF COLLEAGUES OF BOTH PARTIES. AND THE FRIENDSHIP OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATION AND AROUND THE WORLD. WHILE SUMMONING THE STRENGTH, FAITH AND GRACE TO OVERCOME GREAT PERSONAL TRAGEDY, THIS SON OF SCRANTON, CLAY MONT, AND WILMINGTON, HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL VICE-PRESIDENTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY. AN ACCOLADE THAT NONETHELESS RESTS FIRMLY BEHIND HIS LEGACY AS HUSBAND, FATHER AND GRANDFATHER, A GRATEFUL NATION THANKS VICE-PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., FOR HIS LIFETIME OF SERVICE ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. [ APPLAUSE ] [ APPLAUSE ]>>MR. PRESIDENT — PLEASE, PLEASE. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. [ CHEERING AND APPLAUSE ] PLEASE. THANK YOU. YOU’RE FIRED. [ LAUGHTER ] FOR THE PRESS, BRASHETTI IS MY CHIEF OF STAFF. I HAD NO INKLING. I THOUGHT WE WERE COMING OVER, MICHELLE, FOR YOU, JILL, AND BARACK AND I TO — A COUPLE OF SENIOR STAFF TO TOAST ONE ANOTHER AND SAY WHAT AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY IT’S BEEN. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU GOT RIGHT THE PART ABOUT MY LEANING ON JILL. I’VE ALSO LEANED ON YOU AND A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM. I LOOK AROUND THE ROOM AND I SEE GREAT FRIENDS LIKE TED COKAUFMA WHO HAS SO MUCH WISDOM. I LOOK AROUND, I’M SO STARTLED, I SEE PEOPLE I DON’T EXPECT. MADAM PRESIDENT, HOW ARE YOU? I LOOK AT MY NEW BOSS OVER THERE. [ LAUGHTER ] BUT YOU KNOW, I GET A LOT OF CREDIT I DON’T DESERVE. I STATE THE OBVIOUS. BECAUSE I’VE ALWAYS HAD SOMEBODY TO LEAN ON, FROM BACK THAT TIME IN 1972 WHEN THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED, I LEANED ON — AND I MEAN THIS IN A LITERAL SENSE. CHRIS KNOWS THIS, DODD KNOWS THIS, MEL KNOWS THIS, TED KNOWS THIS. I LEANED ON MY SONS BO AND HUNTER. AND I CONTINUE TO LEAN ON HUNTER WHO CONTINUES TO, IN A BIZARRE KIND OF WAY, RAISE ME. I MEAN, I’VE LEANED ON THEM. YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU OBSERVED EARLY ON THAT WHEN EITHER ONE OF MY BOYS WOULD WALK IN THE ROOM, THEY’D WALK UP AND SAY, DAD, WHAT CAN I GET YOU? DAD, WHAT DO YOU NEED? AND THEN JILL CAME ALONG AND SHE SAVED OUR LIFE. SHE — NO MAN DESERVES ONE GREAT LOVE, LET ALONE TWO. AND — BUT EVERYBODY KNOWS HERE I AM JILL’S HUSBAND. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT I LOVE HER MORE THAN SHE LOVES ME. [ LAUGHTER ] WITH GOOD REASON. AND SHE GAINED THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT, THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, THE LIFE OF MY LOVE, MY DAUGHTER ASHLEY. AND I CONTINUE TO LEAN ON THE FAMILY. PRESIDENT, YOU KIDDED ME ONCE. YOU HEARD THAT IN PREPARATION FOR THE TWO DEBATES, VICE-PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES I HAD, I ONLY HAD TWO, THAT BO AND HUNTER WOULD BE THE LAST PEOPLE IN THE ROOM. BO WOULD SAY, LOOK AT ME, DAD, LOOK AT ME. REMEMBER, REMEMBER HOME BASE, REMEMBER. SO, AND THE SECRET SERVICE CAN TELL YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT BO AND HUNT AND ASHLEY CONTINUE TO HAVE TO CORRAL ME. AT THE NATIONAL PARKS I WAS CLIMBING ON TOP OF THE BRIDGE TO JUMP OFF THE BRIDGE WITH A BUNCH OF YOUNG KIDS. AND I HEAR MY SONS YELLING, DAD, GET DOWN. NOW. [ LAUGHTER ] AND I JUST STARTED LAUGHING SO HARDY COULDN’T STOP. I SAID, WAYS GOING TO DO A FLIP OR FULL GAINER. DAD, THE SECRET SERVICE DOESN’T WANT YOU UP THERE, DAD. LOOK AT ME, DAD. SO, WE’VE NEVER FIGURED OUT WHO THE FATHER IS IN THIS FAMILY. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU KNOW THAT WITH GOOD REASON THERE IS NO POWER IN THE VICE-PRESIDENCY. I DID FOR NANCY PELOSI’S DAUGHTER, THE READING OF THE CONSTITUTION, YOU PROBABLY DID ONE FOR HER, THEY HAD ME READ THE PROVISIONS OF THE VICE-PRESIDENCY IN THE CONSTITUTION, AND THERE IS NO INHERENT POWER, NOR SHOULD THERE BE. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE, YOU HAVE MORE THAN KEPT YOUR COMMITMENT TO ME BY SAYING THAT YOU WANTED ME TO HELP GOVERN. PRESIDENT’S LINE OFTEN, PEOPLE DON’T HEAR IT OFTEN, BUT SOMEONE WOULD SAY, CAN YOU GET JOE TO DO SUCH AND SUCH? YOU SAID, I DON’T DO HIS SCHEDULE AND HE DOESN’T DO MINE. EVERY SINGLE THING YOU’VE ASKED ME TO DO, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE TRUSTED ME TO DO. AND THAT IS A REMARKABLE THING. I DON’T THINK, ACCORDING TO — I SEE THE PRESIDENT OF GEORGETOWN HERE AS WELL. I DON’T THINK ACCORDING TO THE PRESIDENTIAL, VICE-PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS THAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP HAS EXISTED — I MEAN, FOR REAL. IT’S ALL YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. IT’S ALL YOU. THE REASON WHY WHEN YOU SENT ME AROUND THE WORLD, NOTHING GOOD, AS MY MOM WOULD SAY, GETS MISSED BETWEEN THE CUP AND A LIP BECAUSE THEY KNOW WHEN I SPEAK I SPEAK TRUE. IT’S BEEN EASY, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE WE NOT ONLY HAVE THE SAME POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AND IDEOLOGY. I TELL EVERYBODY, I’VE TOLD THEM FROM THE BEGINNING AND I’M NOT SAYING THIS TO RECIPROCATE. I’VE NEVER KNOWN A PRESIDENT, AND FEW PEOPLE I’VE EVER MET MY WHOLE LIFE, I CAN COUNT ON LESS THAN ONE HAND, WHO HAVE HAD THE INTEGRITY AND DECENCY AND THE SENSE OF OTHER PEOPLE’S NEEDS LIKE YOU DO. I KNOW YOU’RE UPSET WHEN I TOLD THE STORY ABOUT WHEN HUNT AND I WERE WORRIED THAT BO WOULD HAVE TO — THEY WOULD, AS A MATTER OF HONOR, DECIDE TO STEP DOWN AS ATTORNEY GENERAL WHILE HE WAS FIGHTING HIS BATTLE BECAUSE HE HAD APHASIA. HE WAS LOSING HIS ABILITY TO SPEAK. AND HE DIDN’T WANT TO EVER BE IN A POSITION WHERE TO HIM EVERYTHING WAS ABOUT DUTY AND HONOR. AND I SAID — AND HE MAY RESIGN, I DON’T KNOW. I JUST HAVE A FEELING HE MAY. HUNT AND I TALKED ABOUT THIS. HE SAID, HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY OTHER INCOME, BUT WE’RE ALL RIGHT BECAUSE HUNT’S THERE AND I CAN SELL THE HOUSE. WE WERE HAVING A PRIVATE LUNCH LIKE WE DO ONCE A WEEK. AND THIS MAN GOT UP, CAME OVER, GRABBED ME BY THE SHOULDERS, AND LOOKED ME IN THE EYE AND SAID, DON’T YOU SELL THAT HOUSE. YOU LOVE THAT HOUSE. I SAID, IT’S NO BIG DEAL, MR. PRESIDENT. HE SAID, I’LL GIVE YOU THE MONEY. I’LL GIVE YOU THE MONEY. PROMISE ME. PROMISE ME. YOU WON’T SELL THAT HOUSE. I REMEMBER WHEN ASHLEY, MR. PRESIDENT, WE WERE IN THE OVAL AND ASHLEY WAS IN THE ELEVATOR, AND THE ELEVATOR PLUMMETED — SHE WAS WITH A GROUP OF PEOPLE, I FORGET WHICH BUILDING IN PHILADELPHIA, IT PLUMMETED TO THE GROUND. AND IMMEDIATELY THE SERVICE WAS WORRIED THAT SHE MAY HAVE BEEN BADLY HURT. AND I GOT UP TO TAKE THE CALL AND YOU DIDN’T LET UP UNTIL YOU MADE SURE YOUR SERVICE FOLLOWED THROUGH AND MADE SURE EVERYTHING WAS ALL RIGHT. BUT, YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU KNOW, WE KID ABOUT BOTH ABOUT MARRYING UP, WE BOTH DID THAT KIND OF THING. BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS — I SAID THIS TO MICHELLE LAST NIGHT — MICHELLE IS THE FINEST FIRST LADY, IN MY VIEW, THAT HAS EVER SERVED IN THE OFFICE. THERE’S ANOTHER GREAT FIRST LADIES, BUT I GENERALLY MEAN IT. [ APPLAUSE ] WHEN I GOT TO MEET MICHELLE’S BROTHER AND HE TOLD ME ABOUT HOW YOU GUYS WERE RAISED AND I GOT TO KNOW AND LOVE YOUR MOM, IF YOUR MOM WERE 15 YEARS OLDER, SHE COULD HAVE BEEN MY MOM, LITERALLY. THE WAY YOU WERE RAISED, THE WAY WE WERE RAISED, IT WASN’T ANY DIFFERENCE. AND I KNEW THAT THIS DECISION TO JOIN YOU, WHICH IS THE GREATEST HONOR IN MY LIFE, WAS THE RIGHT DECISION ON THE NIGHT WE HAD TO GO AND ACCEPT THE NOMINATION, THE FORMAL — TO BE NOMINATED AT THE CONVENTION. AND FINNEGAN WHO IS NOW 18-YEAR-OLD, WAS TEN YEARS OLD. SHE CAME TO ME AND SHE SAID, POP, IS IT OKAY IF THE ROOM THAT WE’RE IN, FINNEGAN, MAZY AND NAOMI, THAT WE HAVE THE BEDS TAKEN OUT? AND I SAID, WHY? SHE SAID, MAYBE THE OBAMA GIRLS AND YOUR BROTHER’S CHILDREN, MAYBE THEY CAN COME DOWN AND WE CAN ALL SLEEP TOGETHER IN SLEEPING BAGS. AND I GIVE YOU MY WORD AS A BIDEN, I KNEW WHEN I LEFT TO GO TO THE CONVENTION, OPEN THAT DOOR AND SAW THEM CUDDLED TOGETHER, I KNEW THIS WAS THE RIGHT DECISION. I KNEW IT WAS THE RIGHT DECISION. I REALLY DID. BECAUSE, MR. PRESIDENT, THE SAME VALUE SET, THE SAME VALUE SET — FOLKS, YOU KNOW, I JOKE WITH MY STAFF THAT I DON’T KNOW WHY THEY PAY THEM ANYTHING BECAUSE THEY GET TO ADVISE ME. [ LAUGHTER ] LET ME EXPLAIN WHAT I MEAN BY THAT. AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE WHERE MY HEART RESIDES IN DELAWARE, THEY CAN TELL YOU, I GET TO GIVE ADVICE. I GET TO BE THE LAST GUY IN THE ROOM AND GIVE YOU ADVICE ON THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISIONS ANYONE HAS TO MAKE IN THE WHOLE WORLD. BUT I GET TO WALK OUT AND YOU MAKE IT ALL BY YOURSELF, ALL BY YOURSELF. HA HARRY TRUMAN WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE BUCK STOPPING AT THE DESK. AND I’VE NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ONCE DOUBTED ON THESE LIFE AND DEATH DECISIONS, I NEVER ONCE DOUBTED THAT YOUR JUDGMENT WAS FLAWED, NOT ONCE, NOT ONCE. WE’VE DISAGREED AND ARGUED AND WE’VE RAISED OUR VOICES AT ONE ANOTHER. WE MADE A DEAL WE WOULD BE COMPLETELY OPEN LIKE BROTHERS WITH ONE ANOTHER. BUT, MR. PRESIDENT, I’VE WATCHED YOU UNDER INTENSE FIRE. I WILL VENTURE TO SAY THAT NO PRESIDENT IN HISTORY HAS HAD AS MANY NOVEL CRISES LAND ON HIS DESK IN ALL OF HISTORY. THE CIVIL WAR WAS WORSE, WORLD WAR II WAS WORSE. BUT, MR. PRESIDENT, ALMOST EVERY ONE OF THE CRISES YOU FACED WAS A CASE OF FIRST INSTANCE, CASE OF FIRST INSTANCE. AND I WATCHED THAT PRODIGIOUS MIND AND HEART AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD, I’VE WATCHED YOU. I’VE WATCHED HOW YOU’VE ACTED. WHEN YOU SEE A WOMAN OR MAN UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE, YOU GET A MEASURE AND YOU KNOW THAT, MICHELLE, AND YOUR DAUGHTERS KNOW IT AS WELL. THIS IS A REMARKABLE MAN. AND 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, PART OF THE JOURNEY OF A REMARKABLE MAN WHO DID REMARKABLE THINGS FOR THIS COUNTRY. REMARKABLE. [ APPLAUSE ] YOU KNOW I CAN’T LET A COMMENT GO BY WITHOUT QUOTING AN IRISH POET. [ LAUGHTER ] JILL AND I TALK ABOUT WHY YOU ARE ABLE TO DEVELOP THE WAY YOU DEVELOPED AND WITH THE HEART YOU HAVE. MICHELLE AND I HAVE TALKED ABOUT IT. I’VE CONFIDED IN MICHELLE, I’VE GONE TO HER FOR ADVICE. WE’VE TALKED ABOUT THIS MAN. YOU’VE GIVEN ME INSIGHT. AND I THINK IT’S BECAUSE, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU GAVE ME CREDIT FOR HAVING UNDERSTANDING OTHER PEOPLE’S MISERY AND SUFFERING. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE’S NOT ONE SI SINGLE SOLITARY OUNCE OF ENTITLEMENT IN YOU OR MICHELLE OR YOUR BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS. YOU GIRLS ARE INCREDIBLE. YOU REALLY ARE. IT’S NOT HYPERBOLE, YOU REALLY ARE. NOT ONE OUNCE OF ENTITLEMENT. AND SHAMUS HANEY, ONE OF THOSE POETS SAID — [ LAUGHTER ] WHEN YOU CAN FIND SOMEONE WHO SAYS IT BETTER, USE IT. HE SAID, YOU CARRIED YOUR OWN BURDEN, AND VERY SOON YOUR SYMPTOMS OF CREEPING PRIVILEGE DISAPPEARED. YOU CARRIED YOUR OWN BURDENS AND VERY SOON YOUR CREEPING SYMPTOMS OF PRIVILEGE DISAPPEARED. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE SOMETIMES BEEN LIKE A LONE WOLF, BUT YOU CARRIED YOURSELF IN A WAY THAT IS PRETTY REMARKABLE. THE HISTORY OF THE JOURNEY, YOUR JOURNEY, IS SOMETHING PEOPLE ARE GOING TO WRITE ABOUT A LONG TIME. AND I’M NOT BEING SOLICITOUS WHEN I SAY THIS. AND YOU ARE SO FORTUNATE, BOTH OF YOU, TO HAVE FOUND EACH OTHER BECAUSE ALL THAT GROUNDING, ALL THAT THAT YOU HAVE MADE THIS GUY TOTALLY WHOLE. IT’S PRETTY AMAZING. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS HONOR IS NOT ONLY WELL BEYOND WHAT I DESERVE, BUT IT’S A REFLECTION OF THE EXTENT AND GENEROSITY OF YOUR SPIRIT. I DON’T DESERVE THIS. BUT I KNOW IT CAME FROM THE PRESIDENT’S HEART. THERE IS A TALMUDIC SAYING THAT SAYS, WHAT COMES FROM THE HEART AND IS THE HEART. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE CREEPED INTO OUR HEART, YOU AND YOUR WHOLE FAMILY, INCLUDING MOM, AND YOU OCCUPY IT. IT’S AN AMAZING THING THAT HAPPENED. I KNEW HOW SMART YOU WERE. I KNEW HOW HONORABLE YOU WERE. I KNEW HOW DECENT YOU WERE FROM THE COUPLE YEARS YOU WORKED IN THE SENATE. AND I KNEW WHAT YOU WERE CAPABLE OF. BUT I NEVER FULLY EXPECTED THAT YOU’D OCCUPY THE BIDENS’ HEART FROM HUNTER, ASHLEY, MY SISTER, ALL OF US, ALL OF US. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I’M INDEBTED TO YOU. I’M INDEBTED TO YOUR FRIENDSHIP. I’M INDEBTED TO YOUR FAMILY. AND AS I’LL TELL YOU ON A HUMOROUS NOTE, WE’RE HAVING LUNCH, LUNCHES, MOSTLY — WHATEVER IS IN OUR MINDS. WE TALK ABOUT FAMILY AN AWFUL LOT. AND ABOUT SIX MONTHS IN, PRESIDENT LOOKS AT ME AND HE SAID, YOU KNOW, JOE? YOU KNOW WHAT SURPRISED ME? HOW WE’VE BECOME SUCH GOOD FRIENDS. [ LAUGHTER ] AND I SAID, SURPRISED YOU? BUT THAT IS CANDID OBAMA. [ LAUGHTER ] AND IT’S REAL. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU KNOW AS LONG AS THERE IS BREATH IN ME, I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU, MY FAMILY WILL BE THERE. I KNOW IT IS RECIPROCAL. AND I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL SO VERY, VERY, VERY MUCH, ALL OF YOU FOR BEING HERE. [ APPLAUSE ]

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