It remains to be seen whether the national media agrees with this assessment of ABC's Republican presidential debate, which is in its closing moments as this is being written.
The debate's big winners were Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
McCain, using his trademark humor, was able to fluster his chief opponent in New Hampshire, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, several times. Each time, McCain hit Romney with one of his good-natured, but effective, barbs, Romney whined about "personal attacks."
I would have to believe that anyone who has watched Romney's campaign unfold, with increasing negativity, especially toward McCain and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, has to chuckle at Romney's audacity in claiming the mantle of victim.
In one answer, Romney, adapting the latest buzzword in national politics, "change," claimed he was the change agent because of his track record of changing the performances of various companies, taking control of the Salt Lake City Olympics, and his track record as governor of Massachusetts.
McCain, spotting an opening, said he totally agreed with Romney's self-assessment as a "candidate of change."
Instead of just chuckling and letting McCain get his laugh, which would probably have been the wisest course, Romney, clearly upset, moaned about the "personal attack."
In another exchange, over the power of the pharmaceutical industry, McCain characterized the industry as a villain in the high cost of health care in the United States, while Romney, a big recipient of cash from that sector, offered a limp defense of it.
Giuliani, seeing his strategy of ignoring the opening states for Florida and the big states coming up on Feb. 5, needed a strong performance and gave one. McCain, Giuliani, and to a lesser extent, Huckabee, were able to convincingly explain their stances on immigration fairly convincingly, with Romney staking out the "send them all back" ground, and the others taking the position of deporting criminals and requiring others who wish to remain in the United States to move to the back of the line for citizenship and pay penalties. All six candidates agreed on the need for securing our borders. Giuliani noted that former President Ronald Reagan, the person whose name is most often cited as a positive example by Republican candidates, gave full amnesty to illegal immigrants in the 1980s, something none of the current candidates has suggested. Giuliani also spoke forcefully and convincingly on defense issues.
Fred Thompson came across as well-prepared and relaxed, but almost seemed like a spectator.
Huckabee hit a home run on one of the final questions of the debate, how each candidate would fare against Barack Obama in the general election. Huckabee was able to insert one of his chief selling points, the idea of campaigns not being about right and left, but moving the country upward.
It is hard to characterize Rep. Ron Paul's performance. His anti-war stance seems more in line with the Democratic party than Republicans, but he did not particularly express his stance well. That being said, that probably won't make a bit of difference to his supporters who back their man all the way.
Video clips have already been posted on the ABC News website.