Elderly Candidate Thinks Debate Already Over, Claims Victory

'I'm leaving the fifth Democratic debate now. I hope I made you proud out there'

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Former vice president Joe Biden's campaign sent out a post-Democratic debate fundraising email about six hours before the debate is set to start.

"I'm leaving the fifth Democratic debate now. I hope I made you proud out there and I hope I made it clear to the world why our campaign is so important," the email reads. "We need leadership. We need to be ready on day one to get the country back on track and clean up Donald Trump's mess."

Biden's campaign sent the email to thousands of subscribers even before he set foot on the stage in Georgia for the Wednesday evening debate. The fundraising plea emphasized Biden's "resolve to get things done."

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"But we need more than plans. We need the grit and the resolve to get things done. We need to reach across the aisle and demand that our leaders do what's right," the email says.

The debate is set to begin at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Biden will face off against the South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg (D.), who is surging in the latest Iowa and New Hampshire polling. He is also expected to clash with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), two frontrunners who have attacked Biden from the left. The former vice president enjoys a comfortable lead in the South Carolina primary and has also overtaken Sanders in Nevada.

Biden's campaign sent out a second email an hour later at 4:20 p.m. apologizing for the premature email.

"We were just so excited for it that we accidentally hit send too soon," the second email said. "That's our bad."

Biden's elderliness and command of the English language have come under scrutiny in recent months. "Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?" Democratic rival Julián Castro asked Biden in the September debate.

The debate is set to air on MSNBC.