As AP pointed out last night, Newt Gingrich’s decision to stay nice in the face of Mitt Romney’s incessant attacks on him was and is a perplexing one. Allah wrote: “He was famous for scorched-earth politics when he was in the House, yet when he finally got his second look as a presidential contender, he turned into a nice-ish guy. It’s probably too late now.”

It probably is — but that doesn’t mean that his supporters won’t still try to come to his defense. A pro-Newt Super PAC called Winning the Future yesterday released its first Iowa ad to defend Gingrich against the claims of the Romney and Perry camps. According to the ad, “the Republican establishment” (which seems to be code in this case for the former Massachusetts governor and current Texas governor) has outspent Gingrich 20:1 — and much of that money has been spent to ding the former Speaker of the House. The ad calls the attacks “falsehoods” and reminds viewers of all that Gingrich has definitively accomplished for the conservative cause, from balancing the budget to cutting taxes to creating 11 million jobs.

Meantime, in case you missed either, a couple of respected conservative economists have also recently lined up to make the case for Newt. The endorsements of Art Laffer and Thomas Sowell ought to be enough to at least encourage anyone who dismissed Gingrich as not conservative enough to look at him again. Then again, endorsements don’t seem to matter nearly as much as candidates themselves like to claim. In the most recent Gallup poll on the subject, 71 percent of Americans say endorsements from “prominent people” don’t make much of a difference to them. Still, those who are following the race closely are bound to consider the opinions and judgments of those they respect at least to a certain extent.