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Susan Walsh, Associated Press
Vice President Joe Biden laughs as President Barack Obama talks about him during a ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Obama surprised Biden an presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama awarded Vice President Joe Biden with the highest civilian honor Thursday, commemorating an "extraordinary man with an extraordinary career in public service."

A teary-eyed Biden accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a ceremony at the White House dedicated to honoring the outgoing vice president.

Obama said he is bestowing the honor on Biden for "faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and a lifetime of service that will endure through the generations."

Biden praised his wife and children for their support throughout his career, and praised the Obama family for their dedication to country and service.

"I was part of the journey of a remarkable man who did remarkable things," Biden said.

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Speaking ahead of Biden, Obama said the tribute will give the Internet one last chance to joke about the "bromance" the two share. He called Biden the "best possible choice, not just for me, but for the American people."

Obama commended the "Biden heart," listing the influences in Biden's life, from the nuns who taught him in grade school, to his Senate colleagues, to his parents.

Noting that Biden's career is "nowhere close to finished," Obama said his vice president will go on to have an impact in the U.S. and abroad.