I noticed the line “the exchange was not the clear winner” in the following sentence of the article titled “The Take: Perry’s challenging road ahead” appearing in Washington Post Sept. 24 issue:
“On Thursday, Social Security was a principal point of contention between the two, and it illustrated Perry’s problems. The exchange was not the clear winner that Romney might have hoped, but that ‘s largely because Perry’s position remains something of a muddle.”
To me, the expression “exchange = (not) clear winner” sounds somewhat illogical, because “the exchange” can’t be equal (or not equal) to “the clear winner,” though the result could be. A person can be a winner or loser, but can the abstractive noun like 'exchange' be a winner or loser, unless used as a metaphor?
Shouldn’t it be something like “The exchange did not show (prove / result in / turn out) the clear winner.
Maybe I’m nit-picking, but I wonder if this kind of expression; “His argument was a winner,” “Ryo Ishikawa’s play was a loser” “Obama’s Middle-East talk was a loser,” “Sarah Palin’s speech was a creater,” are common English expressions?