Former Vice President Joe Biden uttered a line in Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate that’s already being used against him on social media.
He said: “My time’s up.”
Biden was referring to his time on the debate clock, but to his critics, the 76-year-old may as well have been speaking about his time in national politics.
Biden had just come under a not-so-veiled attack about his age by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who recalled Biden speaking about passing the torch “to a new generation of Americans” at the 1988 Democratic National Convention:
“Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago,” Swalwell said. “He’s still right today.”
But Biden wasn’t having it.
“I’m still holding onto that torch,” he said.
If Biden was, he may have dropped it during his debate about race with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Harris called out Biden for his recent comments about working with segregationists in the Senate and for his opposition to a federal program to bus students and integrate schools.
Given a 30-second warning, Biden ticked off his track record on civil rights and voting rights before running out of steam. Then he played moderator on himself.
“Anyway, my time’s up,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
Twitter critics noted it was a stark contrast to his comments about holding onto the torch, and many wondered if the “time’s up” line could come to define him and his campaign:
"Anyway, my time's up." – Joe Biden, laying down the truth. #DemocraticDebate
— Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) June 28, 2019
— Ann Telnaes (@AnnTelnaes) June 28, 2019
"My time is up, I'm sorry." Biden didn't even realize how true that was.
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) June 28, 2019
— Nell McCormack Abom (@nellabom) June 28, 2019
The quote that forever will define this debate:"Anyway, my time is up." — Joe Biden
— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) June 28, 2019
— Fiddler (@cFidd) June 28, 2019
In a debate where everyone is fighting for time, you don't want to be the candidate that trails off and cuts your answer short by saying: "my time's up, I'm sorry."
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) June 28, 2019
— Rachel Dillon (@RaaachelDillon) June 28, 2019
“Oh, my time’s up.” Yes it is, Joe. Byeee! 🤣
— John Faneca (@JohnFaneca) June 28, 2019
When Biden eventually drops out of the race, “I’ll stop. My time’s up,” must be in his statement. https://t.co/E5z6lO0Wip
— Ilyssa Danielle (@ilyssa_danielle) June 28, 2019
Joe, your time is up. Take your torch and go home.
— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) June 28, 2019
Biden just flamed out. “My time’s up”. Damn. Courtesy of Kamala Harris.
— Rod Anderson (@RC2DA) June 28, 2019
Biden literally said, “My time’s up” pic.twitter.com/040SQTwNM4
— ıɥɔɐɥɔ (@Chachi) June 28, 2019
How many minutes passed between Biden saying "I'm holding onto that torch" and "My time's up."
— Chris Rasa (@SpinningSkull) June 28, 2019
— Mckayla Wilkes for Congress (@MeetMckayla) June 28, 2019
Tonight's two key, race-defining moments."That little girl was me.""My time's up…"
— Jane C. Timm (@janestreet) June 28, 2019
— Latino Political Ave (@LatPoliticalAve) June 28, 2019