The Times reports tonight that Newt Gingrich's main backer, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is sending conciliatory signals to another old ally -- Mitt Romney.
One key point: "He is concerned that additional deep-pocketed donors have not joined him" in supporting Gingrich's SuperPAC.
And while Gingrich's spokesman expresses his outrage at another Times report on "rumors" that he would drop out, Adelson's problem is also Newt's. Who is going to give him money now? Two kinds of candidates raise money: Cause candidates, like Ron Paul; and likely winners, like Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum, too, speaks to a social conservative core, and has a compelling personal story whose emotional connection seems to have brought some online fundraising.
But Gingrich has never been a perfect fit for the tribe he would like to lead, Tea Party conservatives. His muddled message, of complaints, attacks, and process, aren't going to compel people to pull out their credit cards.
And most important, he seems to be running out of moments. The donations pour in when a candidate stands before a television screen and appeals to an engaged, national crowd of supporters to give, right now. Thursday, the hope of standing beside Donald Trump turned into humiliation. Tonight, he will give a loser's press conference. February is a long grind without any obvious moments to win.
Gingrich will have to scramble to create a big, emotional moment; and he may have to sink back toward the sort of bare-bones campaign, without television or organization, that he ran for most of 2011.
As the consultant Alex Castellanos tweeted after seeing this item: