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Joe Biden gets emotional as President Obama surprises him with Medal of Freedom

The president joked that the surprise ceremony would give the internet one last glimpse of their "bromance."
/ Source: TODAY

It's the White House friendship that launched a million memes.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have gotten a lot of attention for their close friendship during their eight years working together, and on Thursday their bond took center stage when Obama surprised Biden by awarding him the presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, during a White House ceremony.

Obama kicked off the surprise ceremony by saying he wanted to pay tribute to "the best vice president America has ever had."

"This also gives the internet one last chance to talk about our bromance," he quipped, as the crowd and Biden burst into laughter.

Obama described how he came to choose Biden as his running mate and gave details about highlights from their time together, even revealing that he, first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15, consider themselves "honorary Bidens."

See highlights from the ceremony in the video below:

Obama also testified to Biden's character and warmth. "If you can't admire Joe Biden as a person you've got a problem," said Obama, quoting a Republican member of the senate. "He's as good a man as God ever created."

A tearful Biden stood as the president fastened the medal around his neck, and when it came time to speak, he heaped a mountain of praise right back on his pal, revealing how the two stuck together through triumphs and tragedies.

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"I've never known a president — and few people I've ever met in my whole life, I can count on less than one hand — who have had the integrity, the decency and the sense of other people's needs like you do," Biden said, and later revealed how he leaned on Obama as his son, Beau, the former Delaware attorney general, lost his cancer battle.

Biden said being Obama's vice president was an honor: “I can say I was part of the journey of a remarkable man who did remarkable things for this country."

“I don't deserve this," Biden said of his medal. "But I know it came from the president’s heart."