Newt Gingrich now complains that he performed poorly last night because Mitt Romney stacked the hall with supporters who cheered more at Romney's remarks than his own.
I was not inside the hall, so I can't attest to whether that complaint is true or not. It may well be. If so though, some thoughts:
1) The complaint is a reminder that Gingrich from the start had a media presence, not a campaign. Filling halls is exactly the sort of thing campaign organizations exist to do.
2) The complaint reminds what a highly strung mechanism the Gingrich psyche is. If a condition as mildly adverse as a less-than-enthusiastic audience can so disable Gingrich's performance, you do have to wonder what real adversity would do to him. Actually, you don't have to wonder. We learned in the 1990s. Real adversity utterly disorients and defeats him.
3) The people in the audience were Republican rank-and-file, not a hired Romney claque—ie, people whom an effective candidate ought to have been able to reach and persuade. If the story is true that the crowd began tilted to Romney, why couldn't Gingrich win them over? That's what the great candidates do: they persuade. Gingrich however seems only able to excite the already persuaded—a bad omen for the general election.