President Obama awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to a shocked Vice President Biden on Thursday at the White House.
Biden and the president had gathered with others for what the White House had described as a final tribute to the vice president.
The event began with a playful and heartfelt tribute from Obama to one of his closest friends and confidants in Washington. As he finished his remarks, the president asked one of his military aides to come to the stage.
"For the final time as president I am pleased to award our nation's highest civilian honor . . ." Obama began as a Marine officer bearing the medal stood by.
Biden immediately spun around, turning his back to the crowd, and wiped his face and eyes with his handkerchief.
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