Eric Swalwell quotes Joe Biden from 32 years ago to demand he "pass the torch" to next generation

The former Veep, who began his political career at age 27, failed to address the crux of Swalwell’s argument

By Elizabeth Preza
June 28, 2019 2:45PM (UTC)
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Democratic presidential hopeful former US Representative for California's 15th congressional district Eric Swalwell speaks during the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019 (Getty/Saul Loeb)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

During the second Democratic debate on Thursday night, Rep. Eric. Swalwell (D-CA) delivered a pointed attack line against Joe Biden, quoting the former vice president from 32 years prior:

I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans that. That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden.

According to CNN’s Dan Merica, the line received gasps from the audience as Swalwell continued, “Joe Biden was right when he said that 32 years ago. He is still right today.”


“If we are going to solve the issue, pass the torch,” Swalwell said. “If we are going to solve climate chaos, pass the torch. If we want to end gun violence and solve student debt, pass the torch.”

In a telling response, Biden told the audience, “I’m still holding on to that.” The former vice president went on to deliver a list of campaign promises, from universal pre-K to free community college.

“There is a lot we can do, but we have to make continuing education available for everyone so everyone can compete in the 21st century,” Biden said. “We are not doing that now.”


The former vice president, who began his political career at age 27 (and is currently 76 years old), failed to address the crux of Swalwell’s argument. The former vice president has spend nearly 5 decades in Congress — if “we are not doing” what we need to be successful as a nation, Biden certainly has played a role in getting us there.

Elizabeth Preza

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2020 Elections All Salon Democratic Party Democrats Eric Swalwell Joe Biden Politics