“The Mitt Romney campaign is making an immediate shift in tactics, a move that is necessary because, as one Republican close the campaign put it, ‘What they are doing now isn’t working.’

“At an event in Arizona, Romney himself said you will see more ads, you will see him making sure the contrasts between himself and Newt Gingrich are ‘loud and clear.’ And Romney himself said you will be seeing more interviews and press conferences…

“When former Vice President Dan Quayle spoke about the importance of Romney’s integrity ‘when he’s in public life. When he’s in private life,’ that was no accident. Romney will not go after Gingrich on personal issues, but ABC News has learned that you can expect to see Romney surrogates making fairly direct references to Gingrich’s tumultuous past, in the vein of what Quayle did. You can also expect to see Ann Romney and the Romney family on the trail much more, especially in South Carolina, to create a visual contrast. Their presence on the trail ‘speaks for itself.’…

“The Romney campaign is not said to be running around scared, but as one Republican put it, ‘They know Newt Gingrich is someone who can win elections.'”

“Romney’s pivot toward a more forward-leaning approach comes as some of his closest advisers have expressed serious concerns to both the candidate and his high command about the state of his campaign, POLITICO has learned.

“Some of his backers also privately conceded that it may now be hard to stop Gingrich’s burst of momentum in advance of the caucuses, stressing that Romney’s candidacy was always built to survive the long haul…

“A Romney insider, who asked not to be identified, said the campaign is aware that something must be done to stop Gingrich’s rise and that a series meetings about how to proceed were held over the weekend.

“‘They know he has to hit Newt,’ said the insider. ‘The campaign thought somebody else would have done it by now. They’re now of the view that none of the others will do it or none of the others are effective at doing it so he’s going to have to do it.'”

“Much of the pro-Romney Republican donor and operative class has been taken aback by Gingrich’s rise, mystified as to why conservative activists would want to nominate a candidate they view as a sure-fire loser against President Barack Obama. The GOP conversation now in New York and Washington is ablaze with talk of the former speaker’s 1968-style Nixon comeback and whether it will last…

“‘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.’…

“‘I do know that the message is coming through to them that, ‘You need to have a third party going after Newt, and if you can’t do it that way, you’ve got to do it yourself,” said [a former RNC] chair.”

“The consternation in Romney circles—one large donor frets that the race could end with a brokered Republican convention next August— comes as Mr. Gingrich continues to gain momentum in a flurry of national polls and surveys in early-voting states…

“At bottom, though, Mr. Romney’s team remains confident he will win what could become a protracted, state-by-state war for convention delegates, even without igniting excitement among Republican voters. Part of that gamble is a belief that the Gingrich campaign won’t survive the long fight.

“‘When you look at Newt, there’s just not a lot of root structure there to hold up his campaign,’ said Brian Ballard, Mr. Romney’s Florida finance chairman. ‘Newt is a bit of a hot-house flower in that way.’…

“‘This last-man-standing strategy of the Romney campaign strikes me as profoundly cynical,’ said Bruce Keough, a New Hampshire businessman who was chairman of the 2008 Romney campaign in that state, but isn’t involved in the 2012 race. ‘Voters want and need to be inspired, and Romney is simply not delivering an inspiring message,’ he said.”

“‘You’ll see me campaigning aggressively,’ said Romney, estimating that he has only seven more days of fundraising before he can focus solely on campaign events. ‘I’ll be on the air a good deal more than in the past, doing our very best to communicate to the American people why I’m running for president and hopefully getting their support.’

“‘I know the beginning will be what, January 3rd, but this will probably take longer than a week or two to sort out,’ predicted Romney.

“‘My expectation is this campaign that’s going to go on for a while and I expect to win it,’ said Romney. ‘I need to get something over 1,000 delegates and we’re just getting started. I’m pleased with where we are right now, and anticipate getting the nomination if I do my job right.'”