During a surprise event Thursday, President Obama awarded Vice President Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
Obama went a step further by awarding the honor with distinction, an honor that has only been bestowed upon Pope John Paul II, former President Ronald Reagan and former Secretary of State Colin Powell over the last three presidencies.
Biden, who didn't expect to receive the honor, turned away from cameras and a crowd after Obama's announcement. He dabbed his eyes with tissue and shook his head in disbelief.
Obama, who referred to Biden as his "brother," called Biden "the best vice president America has ever had" and "a lion of American history."
Biden fought back tears before thanking Obama.
"This honor is not only well beyond what I deserve, but it's a reflection of the extent and generosity of your spirit," Biden said to Obama. "I don't deserve this, but I know it came from the president's heart ... Mr. President, you have creeped into our heart -- you and your whole family -- and you occupy it."
An emotional Biden to Obama: "I'm indebted to you, I'm indebtetd to your friendship, I'm indebted to your family."https://t.co/XY9ZffHp2P— CNN (@CNN) January 12, 2017
"Mr. President, I'm indebted to you. I'm indebted to your friendship. I'm indebted to your family," Biden said. "You know as long as there in breath in me, I will be there for you. My whole family will be there for you. And I know it's reciprocal. And I want to thank you so very, very much, all of you."