The Republicans are wetting themselves they're so fired up by what they think of as Romney's clear win. And to the extent he got his base excited and kept his donors dedicated to those big checks, sure, he won. (To the extent that we need a democracy where the voter is given information instead of full-blown, blatant lies, not so much.)
We've all been focused on three possible debate winners so far: Romney, Obama and Big Bird. But there is another guy out there, a Republican, who has really won big, and this guy may be the ultimate real winner in terms of pure political capital and (because I'm still confident Obama will be reelected) in terms of what impacts the political landscape for 2016. And this winner is Chris Christie.
Think about it this way for a moment: Last Sunday, Christie went on Meet the Press and said that Romney would win big time in the first debate, and that win would be so decisive it would change the campaign landscape. No one else was saying that. Christie went totally against the conventional wisdom and delivered his own talking points that no one - as in no one - bought at the time. He got roundly criticized and even laughed at for predicting a blow out win. Since Wednesday night, however, every single Republican thinks that is exactly what happened.
Most of us, and all the Republicans, are still focused on 2012 and we're still debating the debate. But in those famous quiet room that Republicans have so many of, where deals are cut, endorsements are negotiated and checks are written, Christie is now being perceived by the Republicans as a rock star of prescience and brilliance. Behind the scenes, among the Republican power brokers, you can count on the fact that Chris Christie won, and won huge.