A smart Republican operative in Iowa, unaligned with any campaign, brings up an interesting way to characterize the lack of organization Newt Gingrich has established in the Hawkeye State: Gingrich, like other candidates without traditional constituencies in Iowa, has largely eschewed the traditional town hall format for his events.
That's because he doesn't have the on-the-ground organization required to actually build a crowd.
Consider his four events in Iowa this week: He visited a meeting at a Council Bluffs pizza joint headlined by Strong America Now. He stopped by a meeting at Nationwide Insurance, where he spoke with employees. He spoke at a meeting of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. And he attended a party fundraiser in Johnston, just outside Des Moines.
All four events had built-in crowds generated not by Gingrich's campaign, but by the outside groups themselves.
That hints at both Gingrich's promise and his pitfalls. The excitement around Gingrich's candidacy appears real, and several observers said they expect he will lead two Iowa polls scheduled to be released this weekend by the Des Moines Register and NBC News. But it takes real organization to round up captains and supporters in Iowa's 1,774 precincts -- organization that, at the moment, Gingrich doesn't have.