On Fox News, Charles Krauthammer makes a very good point, post-debate.
"The Romney campaign has had a terrible month -- to the extent that people are saying 'You know, who is this guy, he seems like a sap'. All of a sudden, this Romney shows up, and he's knowledgeable, he's confident, and he's got nerve. He never backed down on any of the Obama attacks.
In fact, every time Obama hurled a particular at him, he came back with a three point answer."
Debates are usually about appealing to the center, and Romney was strong there tonight, but don't underestimate the effect this will have on the base.
Not necessarily because of red meat in what Romney said, but because -- as Krauthammer notes -- he showed "nerve" and didn't back down. That's what the GOP was pining for throughout the primary. That explained Newt Gingrich's flirts with the lead. Romney was Newt without the Newtness.