A frontrunner without an organization

Even as Gingrich takes on the status of a national front-runner, he continues to drive his skeletal campaign operation forward with seemingly individual force. He writes memos to staff outlining his vision for the campaign. He fields and personally answers emails from influential supporters. He largely relies on a core group of longtime friends and confidants – including his wife, Callista – for support…

Republicans – including some who have watched Gingrich for years – said his approach to the campaign showed a familiar set of instincts from a man who drew complaints throughout his time as speaker for an impulsive, head-in-the-clouds leadership style.

And even before his organization is put to the test in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond, Republicans say Gingrich may suffer for relying so heavily on a tiny circle of advisers – or simply winging it on his own one time too often.

Former Gingrich aide Rich Galen said the candidate “often doesn’t think through what the ramifications are” of offhand comments, like his remark in South Carolina this week that he didn’t need to be a lobbyist because he made $60,000 per speech.

“He doesn’t have people around him who can say, ‘Whoa,’” Galen said. “That’s kind of the danger of being a one-man band when you get to the top of the stack. When he was at 5 or 8 percent, it didn’t matter.”