DANVILLE, KY -- There was blood on the floor following Thursday's vice-presidential debate here, but not enough to change the narrative of the election campaign.
The deputy debates rarely do, and both sides are claiming victory -- for good reason. Meaning it was likely a draw.
Republican Paul Ryan and Vice-President Joe Biden lived up to their roles as campaign attack dogs.
An aggressive Biden -- laughing derisively at times -- accused Paul Ryan of "malarkey," and often interrupted the much younger Wisconsin congressman.
His performance won praise from his boss.
"I thought Joe Biden was terrific. I could not be prouder of him," President Barack Obama said late Thursday night. "I thought he made a very strong case. And, you know, I really think that his passion for making sure that the economy grows for the middle class came through, so I'm very proud of him."
Indeed, Biden reportedly said "middle class" 24 times, to Ryan's eight mentions.
But Ryan stayed calm and composed throughout, held his own against the veteran and combative Biden, and was substantive on the economic issues for which he is known in Washington.
Ultimately, the running mates did their jobs, and neither made the kinds of mistakes or landed a so-called knockout punch that can dominate headlines and change poll numbers.
So the ball is back again in the big boys' court, and Obama and Mitt Romney will square off again Tuesday in New York.
Like the debate here, next week's will focus on foreign and domestic policy, in a town hall format.
Last week's presidential debate in Denver -- which Romney unanimously won, and following which Obama was roundly criticized even by Democrats for a lacklustre performance -- propelled the Republicans in national and crucial battleground state polls.
Some 70 million viewers tuned in to watch that debate.