Buzz around DNC speech by 'regular kid' with stutter rivals reviews of Biden's

Brayden Harrington, like Joe Biden, has a stutter.

August 21, 2020, 4:26 PM

The buzz on Friday around Brayden Harrington's Thursday night speech at the Democratic National Convention rivaled the reviews of -- Joe Biden's.

The performance by the self-described "regular kid” from New Hampshire had gone viral -- trending on Twitter and making news around the world -- and the internet was still complimenting him on his "courage."

The now-famous Brayden is a kid who, like the former vice president, has a stutter, but a kid who is only 13 years old and can't yet vote.

That didn’t stop him from taking a risk to urge Americans to cast their ballots for Biden in November.

“Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone we can all look up to, someone who cares,” Harrington said into the camera, wearing a coral colored t-shirt and braces, with a Biden campaign poster hanging on the wall behind him.

“Someone who will make our country and the world feel better. We’re counting on your to elect Joe Biden,” he said, pausing several times to get past his stutter, but persisting.

Brayden Harrington speaks by video feed about the bond he shares with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden over stuttering during the 4th night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Aug. 20, 2020.

Harrington’s speech included tips Biden had given him about public speaking, including reading poems by William Butler Yeats aloud and how to mark up speeches to make them easier to deliver.

Harrington’s strong delivery, despite his stutter, was a quick hit on social media – winning emotional praise from both Democrats and even Biden critics.

Democratic Sen. Amy Kloubchar was quick to quote Harrington himself talking about Biden, saying on Twitter, “'Joe Biden cared' Imagine what he could do for all of us.”

Former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who has difficulty speaking since suffering a devastating brain injury in an assassination attempt -- and who also spoke during the convention -- encouraged Harrington to keep at it.

“Speaking is hard for me too, Brayden,” Gifford wrote on Twitter. “But as you know, practice and purpose help. Thank you for your courage and for the great speech!"

Even Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, encouraged the teenager, saying, “Way to go, Brayden!”

Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, joined in, saying, “Brayden, we're all so proud of you. Your courage and strength is unmatched.”

Harrington is no stranger to the Biden campaign – he first met him on the campaign trail in February.

Democratic presidential candidate President Joe Biden hugs Brayden Harrington at a campaign stop in Gilford, N.H., Feb. 10, 2020.
Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE

“He told me that we were members of the same club: we stutter,” Harrington said in his speech.

A video of their first meeting in New Hampshire resurfaced Friday.

“I tell you what, don’t let it define you,” Biden said to Harrington. “You are smart as hell, now you really are. You can do this.”

During that brief meeting in New Hampshire, Biden said he works with about “25 other stutterers," giving them tips on things that worked for him – just as he did with Harrington.

"I'm just a regular kid," Harrington said during the convention. "And in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me more confident about something that's bothered me my whole life."

Biden has had a stutter since he was a child. In an interview with The Atlantic in the January issue, he explained that the stutter makes it difficult to say words beginning with the letter “s.” In 2015, Biden wrote a letter to the Stuttering Foundation of America talking about his struggle with the speech impediment.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden stands on stage during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Wilmington, Del., Aug. 19, 2020.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

“As you know, I personally understand the terrible fear and frustration of a stutter,” Biden wrote. “My stutter embarrassed me and made me question myself and my abilities daily.”

Biden also wrote in the letter that a stutter is nothing to be ashamed of.

“If I could share one piece of advice with all those struggling with a stutter, it would be this: When you commit yourself to a goal and when you persevere in the face of struggle, you will discover new strengths and skills to help you overcome not only this challenge, but future life challenges as well,” Biden said in the letter.

“If you are child who stutters, just imagine heading to school in the morning, worried the teacher might call on you to answer a question,” Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation told ABC News. “You spend the whole day, every day, never knowing if and when you might stutter. Will people laugh or worse?”

“From the time you wake up until you go to bed, the fear of stuttering is with you. That’s the emotional impact on the child who stutters. That’s why it so important to be open about stuttering, and to not be ashamed of who you are. That’s how Brayden Harrington inspires our community,” she said.

ABC News' Molly Nagle contributed to this report.