Surprising his Vice President, the President called Joe "an extraordinary man, with an extraordinary career in public service" and "the best Vice President America has ever had" before presenting him with the medal. Joe revealed he had "no inkling" that he would be given the honour, and turned his back to the crowd following the announcement, pulling a tissue from his back pocket as he composed himself.
The 74-year-old was visibly tearful as Barack placed the medal around his neck and the pair then shared an embrace before Joe gave a speech. "This honour is not only well beyond what I deserve, but it's a reflection of the extent and generosity of your spirit," Joe told Barack. "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 enters the heart. Mr President, you have crept into our heart, you and your whole family. This is a remarkable man, and I just hope the asterisk in history that will be attached to my name — when they talk about this president, that I can say I was part of, part of the journey of a remarkable man who did remarkable things for his country."
Barack and Joe embraced after Joe was presented with the medal
The President and Vice President are known to be close friends which Barack joked about during his speech, saying: "This gives the internet one last chance to talk about our bromance." The pair are coming to the end of two-terms working together in the White House, and Barack addressed the nation for the last time as President on Tuesday. Thanking his wife Michelle Obama for her support over his presidency, he said: "Michelle - for the past 25 years, you've been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend. You took on a role you didn't ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humour. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You've made me proud. You've made the country proud."
The pair are good friends
He then spoke about his two children, Malia and Sasha, saying: "Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I've done in my life, I'm most proud to be your dad."