Biden offers advice to young people with stutters: It's important to 'not let that define them'

Biden offers advice to young people with stutters: It's important to 'not let that define them'
© Greg Nash

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE opened up about how he overcame stuttering at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday, evoking tears and applause from the audience. 

“Stuttering when you think about is the only handicap that people still laugh about, that still humiliate people about,” Biden said when asked what advice he would give to a college student struggling to overcome a stutter. 

“If I said to you when I was a kid I had a cleft pallet or a withered arm, no one would smile. It’s a debilitating situation,” he continued.  

Biden has spoken about his childhood stutter in the past and has worked with individuals looking to overcome their own stuttering. 

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The former vice president said that he keeps in contact with 15 people who deal with stuttering. 

“The point I make to these young people that I still work with, is that in fact it’s critically important for them not to judge themselves by their speech. [To] not let that define them,” Biden said. 

“What I say to many people out there, and people you work with, young people who stutter, 'I’ll give you my phone number, not a joke,' and they can call me because it’s really important they know," he continued. "They say ‘You really did stutter,' and I still [do] occasionally when I find myself really tired."

“It has nothing to do with your intelligence quotient," Biden added. "It has nothing to do with your intellectual makeup. It has something to do with going back a long time relating to … I think part of it is confidence. What circumstance did you face?”

Audience members were visibly moved by Biden's deeply personal response, which drew applause at its conclusion. 

“Things that people cannot control, is not their fault. No one has a right … to mock it and make fun of it,” Biden said. “We just have to reach out a little more for people … We don’t do it enough. We have to heal this country.”