WASHINGTON: Kamala Harris spoke slowly but bluntly as she stared at Joe Biden, then began treating him as a hostile witness.
The former federal prosecutor turned California senator started by saying she didn't think the former vice president "was a racist".
But she criticized him for recently 'defending segregationists' in the Senate and for once opposing mandatory busing of students to desegregated public schools.
Harris described a young girl in the 1970s who boarded such buses before dramatically offering, "That little girl was me."
The moment was as powerful as it was unexpected. Biden entered back-to-back nights of presidential debates in Miami as the leading Democratic candidate.
Harris showed promise but had not made much of a mark lately. That all changed Thursday.