Democrats opened their convention with attacks against Republicans and a robust defense of President Barack Obama and capped it with a loving portrait by his wife, first lady Michelle Obama.
Here are five things we learned:
1. Expectations? Beaten
Remember when the Democratic National Convention was supposed to be a disaster of untold proportions?
That's the story Republicans have been telling for months. Convention organizers were struggling to raise money. Democrats are disillusioned with Obama. The North Carolina Democratic Party is in shambles.
The GOP succeeded in lowering the bar so much that the only thing Democrats had to do Tuesday was look into the camera without drooling.
Instead, speaker after speaker invigorated the Charlotte crowd with searing attacks against Mitt Romney and a robust call to arms for President Barack Obama.
Then, as the night concluded, a beaming Michelle Obama spoke eloquently about her husband and reminded both the convention audience and viewers at home why she has an approval rating in the mid-60s.
"When people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago," she said to cheers.
Her testimonial about her husband's devotion to faith, family and hard work -- and her recollection of their shared humble beginnings -- was the indisputable highlight of the night for Democrats eager to draw a human contrast with Romney, the stiff and buttoned-up Republican nominee.
2. Ted Kennedy still a powerful Democratic voice The late Ted Kennedy, who died in 2010 from brain cancer, still has a voice in 2012, particularly in the campaign against Mitt Romney.
Nephew Joe Kennedy, who is running for Congress in Massachusetts, introduced a video tribute to the late "liberal lion," and linked his uncle to Obama.
"Four years ago, Uncle Teddy marveled at the grit and grace of a young senator who embodied the change our country sorely needed," Kennedy said. "As we pause today to remember Senator Ted Kennedy, we recommit ourselves to the leader he entrusted to carry on our cause."
Following highlights of the senator's work for veterans' rights, raising the minimum wage, health care and his fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, the video pivots to footage from a debate in his 1994 Senate race against Mitt Romney.
"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe that since Roe V. Wade has been the law for 20 years, we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice," Romney said at the debate.
Romney has since changed positions and now opposes abortion rights, a switch that Republican primary opponents used to call him a flip-flopper on that and other issues and that Obama's campaign has similarly used.
Responding to Romney's answer at the time, Kennedy hit back with an argument still made to this day by Romney's critics, accusing the Republican of pandering for votes.
"I have supported Roe V. Wade. I am pro-choice," Kennedy said. "My opponent is multiple choice."
The video also included a clip of Kennedy railing against his then-opponent for aligning himself too close to Democratic views: "Now he's for minimum wage. Now he's for education reform. If we give him two more weeks, he may even vote for me, because those are things that I am for."
During the 2012 primaries, Romney was constantly on defense in his effort to prove his conservative chops. Resurfacing a Kennedy quote like that could remind viewers of those same qualms the base has about Romney's conservative credentials.
"I thought that video was one of the most effective pieces of political communication I've seen in a long, long time. That was eviscerating, bringing back the debate like that in this hall," CNN contributor and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said.
3. Strickland resurrected
Back in 2010, in the waning days of his unsuccessful bid to be re-elected governor of Ohio, a fired up Ted Strickland downed a 5-Hour Energy on the campaign trail -- an unusual move for a soft-spoken former minister from a town called Duck Run.
It looked like Strickland might have tossed back another energy drink before taking the stage on Tuesday: The man who was passed over for the job of Democratic National Committee Chairman in 2011 showed the White House why that decision might have been a mistake.
Strickland embraced the role of partisan brawler, riling up the convention audience with barbed, populist-themed attacks against Romney.