By Amanda Walker, US correspondent in Miami

It feels a little patronising to say, of Kamala Harris, that "a star is born".

The California senator used to be the state's attorney general.

But there are no two ways about it: her profile was undoubtedly raised during the Democrats' debate in Miami.

At one point she was reportedly the top trending search on Google – in all of America.

Joe Biden entered as the candidate most Americans had heard of. He's the frontrunner – well ahead of the pack in the polls. His rivals had a lot to gain, while Barack Obama's vice president had a lot to lose.

Image: Kamala Harris speaking to journalists in the spin room

Biden tried to use his experience – his decades-long record in public office.

But it came back to bite him in a charged exchange about race with a formidable Ms Harris.

It was about "busing" – the practice of driving children to desegregated public schools to increase diversity.

Speaking directly to Mr Biden, Ms Harris said: "There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me."

She went on to challenge Mr Biden's stance on the measure. He has been criticised for saying that he worked with segregationists earlier in his career to achieve things in the Senate.

He said there had been a "mischaracterisation of my position across the board: I did not praise racists. That is not true".

He added that "everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights".

And yet Ms Harris's intervention was a searing personal yet universal moment that stole the show. It exemplified the view that Biden is yesterday's man and out of touch with the new progressive wave.

It wasn't Ms Harris's only moment, either. She cut through cross-talk and bickering with an easy smile and an absolute zinger that even Mr Biden clapped her for.

She said that Americans do not want a "food fight", but want to know that Democrats are "going to put food on the table".

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