Just 20 minutes into Thursday night's debate, California Sen. Kamala Harris had a moment.
As several of the group of 10 candidates on the Democratic stage in Miami talked over one another, Harris strived to rise above the noise.
"Ok guys — America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we are gonna put food on their table," Harris said to cheers from the audience.
It was a breakout moment on a crowded stage for Harris, as the group of 10 candidates jockeyed for position. And she had several more over the course of the two-hour debate as she tapped into her strengths as an impassioned speaker, a quality rooted in her time as a Bay Area prosecutor.
The most emotional and impactful moment for Harris — and the entire debate — came just over an hour in, when she directly criticized Joe Biden, the former senator and vice president, for his recent comments about working with segregationist senators and restricting the use of busing to desegregate schools.
Harris appeared to get choked up as she directly addressed Biden.
"I do not believe you are a racist," she said. "But I also believe, and it's personal and it was hurtful, to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country — and not just that, you worked with them on busing."
Harris noted her own personal history on the issue:
“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.”