After sleeping on the Gingrich presser and watching it again with fresh eyes, a few additional thoughts:
1. Some of his detailed observations about why Romney won Nevada by such a large margin might have been better left to surrogates than the candidate himself. Even when accurate, they have the whiff of sour grapes when they come from the Big Guy. Sometimes Newt the Pundit elbows Newt the Candidate aside and takes over these press conferences.
2. This press conference works a lot better when watched in its entirety, rather than quoted in excerpts. Of course, most people will read excerpts quoted in news and analysis pieces, rather than watching the whole thing on their own.
3. There’s a line between mourning the death of a positive campaign, and complaining incessantly about negative campaigning. Gingrich does both in this conference, and the parts where he’s doing the former work much better.
4. In a similar vein, he’s factually correct about Romney’s campaign spending advantage, but I don’t recall any candidate getting very far by complaining the other guy spent so much money. Has that ever really done any candidate much good? Gingrich is right about his need to “cut through the clutter” and find alternative ways to get his message out.
5. Gingrich might have been better off keeping his comments about the mechanics of the Nevada caucuses vague, and spending more time on Romney’s difficulty articulating conservative thought, as evidenced in his “I don’t care about the very poor” gaffe. That is one of the most important differences between Gingrich and Romney.
6. Gingrich’s alternately weird, provocative, and inspirational press conferences are a lot more likely to stick with viewers – for both good and ill – than the low-calorie collection of platitudes and boilerplate Romney usually offers in prepared remarks. Sometimes that works against Gingrich, because he says odd things in memorable ways… but it also means his best moments have staying power, as when he tore into the Obama Administration’s “war on religion.” I don’t know if this is an election that can be won by playing defensively.