As more and more statements from earlier in his long political career are coming back to bite him, former vice president and now presidential candidate Joe Biden is taking intense heat for aggressive, imperialistic comments he made during the Spanish-American War.

Biden’s political career was still young when the conflict broke out in 1898, but he was on record of saying the U.S. should take all the Caribbean land it can and even invade Central and South American countries, saying “heck ’em.”

“I was just a young man at the time,” Biden told reporters Monday morning at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “Since then I’ve compiled a long record of not invading Cuba. Look at my track record with the Obama administration. Not only did we not invade Cuba, we ended the embargo.”

Biden’s opponents have already seized on his past comments, with many saying progressives need a candidate who was “on the right side” of the Spanish-American War and early 20th century American imperialism.