A 13-year-old just stole the DNC. Here’s why

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden received a heartwarming endorsement tonight from a young teen he met in February. Brayden Harrington, who stutters, delivered a speech with a little bit of help from Biden, who also suffers from the same speech disorder. “He told me about a book of poems by [William Butler] Yeats he would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud, so I did the same thing today,” Harrington said loudly as he read a speech before a stunned DNC audience (via CNN).

Harrington first connected with Biden during the presidential candidate’s first day campaigning in New Hampshire. Harrington’s father Owen told CNN at the time that: “My wife and I have always tried to find various people my son can relate to that stutter, and I’d read that Joe Biden stuttered and he was really respectful and kind to others in the same situation, such as children.” 

Owen Harrington says during that event, his son met Biden on the rope line, and then, “He put his focus on Brayden and made time for him, talked to him, explained that it doesn’t define him, he’s stronger, that he’s a good person. It was really overwhelming for Brayden. He started breaking down a little bit.” Biden also asked for Brayden’s number so he might keep in touch.

Joe Biden helped Brayden Harrison overcome his stutter

Joe Biden doesn’t hide the fact that he has struggled with stuttering his whole life, and that it still happens, especially when he’s really tired. “It has nothing to do with your intelligence quotient. It has nothing to do with your intellectual makeup,” Biden has said. He suspects it could come from a lack of confidence, and that “…he has to think in terms of not rushing. You have to break it up, because you get so nervous,” he said (via CNN).

He has a method for coping with stuttering: “So what I do, if I say, ‘The Democratic presidential town hall is tonight on CNN,’ I’ll say: ‘The presidential town hall, slash, is on CNN tonight, slash, it’s going to have the following people, slash, Anderson Cooper is going to speak, slash'” (via St Louis Post Dispatch).

Biden admits he keeps in touch with about 15 people who stutter, and Brayden Harrison is one of them. Like Brayden, Biden benefitted from advice that the presidential candidate himself got when he was going through the worst of the stuttering. He says his mother would say: “Joey, don’t let this define you. Joey, remember who you are. Joey, you can do it. So every time I would walk out, she would reinforce me. I know that sounds silly, but it really matters.”

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