Like most heavyweight bouts, it started with a firm handshake, and then a flurry.
Republican Paul Ryan taking the initial swing.
After the debate's first question about the September attack in Libya that killed four Americans - including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. "What we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making it more chaotic and us less safe," said Rep. Paul Ryan, (R) Vice Presidential Nominee.
"With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey," retorted Vice President Joe Biden.
Vice-president Joe Biden accused the republicans of politicizing the tragedy.
Looking to deliver a spark many say his running mate did not during the first presidential debate.
Biden was engaged, at times animated, and always aggressive, referring more than once to a now infamous, secretly recorded fundraiser speech by Mitt Romney. "I've had it up to here with this notion that, 'Forty-seven percent, it's about time they take some sort of responsibility here." Vice President Joe Biden
The sparring continued the full 90-minutes. We're heading in the wrong direction," claimed Rep. Paul Ryan, (R) Vice Presidential Nominee.
Each candidate throwing jabs. "Mr. Vice President, Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground." Rep. Paul Ryan / (R) Vice Presidential Nominee
"What would my friend do differently? If you notice, he never answers the question." Vice President Joe Biden
Both President Obama.. And Mitt Romney watched the debate last night. Afterward both talked about how well their running mates had done.
The shift in intensity last night. No doubt setting the stage for what could be a fiery showdown in next weeks second presidential debate.
And often interrupting each another, though clearly neither candidate is shying away from a political fight.
Jay Gray, NBC News.