“I have disagreed with his strategy,” said former Senate GOP Leader Trent Lott, an early Romney backer who has helped him raise money. “I think he could’ve closed the deal out before now. He’s run a little too much of a risk-averse campaign. I would have liked for him to have had a higher profile, been more aggressive — so it didn’t wind up as Romney and one other.”…

“If Newt is the nominee, he’ll hurt our chances everywhere — House, Senate, etc.,” said a Republican lobbyist who is backing Romney. “Everyone thinks Romney hangs on [and still wins the nomination]. I’m not so sure.”

This Romney supporter’s idea for pushback? “Marianne Gingrich needs to cut an ad in Iowa and South Carolina.”…

One high-profile GOP official said, because of the Cain collapse and the proximity of the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, the answer is yes.

“He’s got to do it now and artfully,” said this Republican, suggesting a combined focus on Gingrich’s past policy positions and his purported lack of electability. “If you poke Newt, he gets riled. They don’t have time to bank on [Gingrich imploding on his own].”