As President Obama made his way across the Atlantic for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, Vice President Biden crossed Massachusetts Avenue this morning to pay his own tribute to the late South African leader.

Biden and his wife, Jill,  visited the South African Embassy, a neighbor of the Naval Observatory, where the second couple lives, to sign a condolence book for Mandela, who died last week at 95.

"On behalf of the American people, our deepest condolences to the people of South Africa for the passing of Nelson Mandela.  But more than that, our profound gratitude — for his compassion, his humility, and his courage," Biden wrote. "Through his unflagging, unflinching commitment to human dignity and his willingness to forgive, he inspired us and challenged us all to do better.  He once said that 'a good head and a good heart is a formidable combination.' Mandela’s head and heart lifted a nation to freedom.  We will continue to keep his spirit alive and strive to live by his example."