3. Does the debate even matter?
The short answer is no.
People don't vote for vice presidents at the ballot box. They vote for presidents. Past vice presidential debates, no matter how high the drama, have ultimately done little to move the needle in modern elections.
Not surprisingly, Biden's scenery-chewing performance was viewed differently by both campaigns. The Romney campaign said he looked erratic, rude and unhinged. The Obama campaign said he laid out the facts and made Ryan look, in the spin room words of former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, "like a lightweight."
But a common refrain from both campaigns after the debate was that it will probably have a minimal effect on the race one way or the other.
The biggest impact of the night, and the reason Democrats were ebullient after the debate, was the base-rallying impact of Biden's aggressive and blustery stage presence.
In the wake of Obama's wilting flower routine in last week's debate, the full Biden, exasperated and angry with Romney and Ryan, was just what Democrats needed.
How happy was team Obama? Campaign surrogates stayed in the spin room with puffed chests for much longer than they did in Denver, when they offered dubious messaging before escaping. The campaign immediately sent out a fundraising plea. President Obama put himself in front of cameras after landing at Andrews Air Force Base to praise Biden's performance.
And it wasn't just the Obama camp.
Democratic state parties, liberal interest groups and down-ballot campaigns rushed to send out fundraising e-mails to capitalize on a fired-up base. You didn't see much of the same on the Republican side.
The debate launched a fresh news cycle that will put a temporary halt to the "Chicago in disarray" storylines. Now the pressure is on President Obama to keep that narrative going next week in New York.
4. Ryan rises to challenge
It was arguably Ryan's biggest task in the vice presidential debate.
As the running mate to the Republican challenger, Ryan needed to convey that he's fit to serve should something happen to the commander in chief, that he would be acceptable to Americans as president.
Known as an expert on economic and budget issues, early in the debate Ryan showed his smarts on foreign policy. During a discussion on troop drawdowns in Afghanistan, he explained how the seasonal changes affect the fighting in Afghanistan.
"The mountain passes fill in with snow. The Taliban and the terrorists and the Haqqani and the Quetta Shura come over from Pakistan to fight our men and women. When it fills in with snow, they can't do it. That's what we call fighting seasons. In the warm months, fighting gets really high. In the winter, it goes down," explained Ryan.
"And so when Adm. Mullen and Gen. Petraeus came to Congress and said, if you pull these people out before the fighting season ends, it puts people more at risk. That's the problem."
"I think Ryan proved himself unexpectedly competent on foreign policy," said Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos, who worked for Romney's 2008 presidential bid. "I think Ryan met his test tonight. Ryan looked very reasonable."
As expected, the Obama campaign disagreed.
"I think Congressman Ryan was out of his depth and showed clearly the ticket is not ready for prime time on foreign policy, and I think that was a decisive difference between the two sides," said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.
So what do debate watchers think? Did Ryan pass the competency test?
Six out of 10 debate watchers in the CNN/ORC poll conducted said that Ryan is qualified to be president.
5. Malarkey moves numbers
"Malarkey" is one of Biden's favorite Biden-isms.
He's been saying it for decades, but not usually with the kind of gusto he showed on Thursday before millions of prime time television viewers.