Teen delivers emotional convention speech on how Biden’s advice helped with stutter
A 13-year-old boy from New Hampshire on Thursday gave a powerful address to the Democratic National Convention about how Democratic nominee Joe Biden helped him feel confident about his stutter.
Brayden Harrington spoke on the final night of the virtual convention and described first meeting the former vice president during a February campaign event in Concord, N.H.
After chatting at the rope line, Biden invited the teen backstage so they could continue their conversation about stuttering and how the longtime politician overcame the same issue.
“He told me that we were members of the same club: We stutter. It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became vice president,” Harrington said in the video.
The Democrat showed the teen a copy of the campaign speech he had just read that included markings where to stop and take a break in between words, Harrington said.
“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, holding up the piece of paper he was reading from to show the markings on his own speech.
“I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me feel more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life,” the teen continued. “Joe Biden cared. Imagine what he could do for all of us. Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone we can all look up to. Someone who cares. Someone who will make our country and the world feel better.”
Thousands took to social media to highlight Harrington’s inspirational speech.
Very proud of Brayden Harrington speaking tonight.
I spent Kindergarten through 7th grade going to speech therapy classes in order to overcome my stammer/stutter.
I’ve been giving public lectures for over 30 years.
— John E.L. Tenney (@JohnELTenney) August 20, 2020
We paused the broadcast to call our 14 year old son who stutters to watch with us. We’re so completely moved by #BraydenHarrington and thrilled that he brought attention and awareness to the stuttering community @sayorg
— Catherine Terizis (@ctflute) August 20, 2020
As someone who stutters, I never imagined I might see something like that in a culture that has dismissed an impairment as a funny pratfall. What a brave kid. I wasn’t that brave. #DemocraticConvention
— Charles McNulty (@CharlesMcNulty) August 20, 2020
I want to say this to Brayden Harrington (the precious young man with a stutter):
Young, Sir: You humble me. I am in TOTAL AWE of your courage. You have a titanic spirit and unshakeable will. You made the worst bully look pathetic, ridiculous and so very small. I salute you.
— Pam Keith (@PamKeithFL) August 20, 2020
Brayden Harrington stole the show, and I think that would make Joe very happy. ❤️
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) August 20, 2020
Biden has often spoken about his childhood stutter and how it can return on certain words while he’s on the campaign trail, especially if he’s tired.
He has said he practiced in the mirror reciting poetry written by Irish poets like William Butler Yeats.
During a CNN town hall in February, the candidate offered a lengthy reflection on how the stutter has impacted him.
“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 said 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.
The former vice president said that having a stutter has “nothing to do with your intelligence quotient.”
“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.”
“Things that people cannot control, is not their fault. No one has a right…to mock it and make fun of it,” Biden says on his lifelong struggle with stuttering. “We just have to reach out a little more for people…We don’t do it enough. We have to heal this country.” #CNNTownHall pic.twitter.com/NOWhzDoRFp
— CNN (@CNN) February 5, 2020
Owen Harrington, the teen’s father, told CNN at the time that Biden “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.”
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.