Conway admits the threat of Gingrich lashing out in an unguarded moment is a potential weak spot for opponents to exploit. "Of course there's a trigger there," she says. "If I were in the Romney and Obama camps, I would not be waiting for Newt to self-destruct, but I would try to egg him on."
And if Gingrich can't keep his temperament, discipline, and judgment in line, it's going to be a tough road through primary and caucus season since a nominee likely won't be settled until at least mid-to-late February or later. "Can he keep his mouth under control for a full 90 days?" wonders van Lohuizen. "He's succeeded for two weeks [of being in the lead]. Ninety days is a long time in Gingrich's life."