Outgoing US President Barack Obama surprised Vice President Joe Biden today (12 January) by bestowing the country's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on him. Biden was moved to tears as the medal was place over his shoulders.

As the president announced his intention to give the VP the medal, Biden turned from the cameras to compose himself. Obama joked that the award would give the internet further reason to talk about their "bromance".

The president said he was recognising Biden for "faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and a lifetime of service that will endure through the generations." Biden in return paid tribute to the outgoing president, saying that he was "part of the journey of a remarkable man who did remarkable things."

Obama said that the award came "with distinction", saying it was an honour that had only been given to three other recipients: Colin Powell, Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II.

Biden said he had no idea that he was about to receive the award, adding: "I don't deserve this but I know it came from the president's heart."