Newt Gingrich, third wheel? (David Goldman/AP)

Folks are pondering what role former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is playing, now that former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney have effectively locked him out. One part that nobody wants to see him take on, reports our colleague Amy Gardner: ”The last thing he and his supporters want is for the 68-year-old to exit the presidential race, and perhaps the public stage, as the Ralph Nader — the stubborn spoiler — of the party.”

Politics is cheap: Despite the hand-wringing about a money-in-politics system gone wild, it turns out there’s less money in this GOP contest than one would think. It’s a relative bargain, says our colleague Dan Eggen: “Every primary season since the 1990s has featured more spending than the current contest.”

Party hardy: And some things are more important than official business. The Senate broke off work on a massive highway bill on Tuesday night to allow its members to attend an engagement party for Sen. Susan Collins. Apparently, the Maine Republican’s colleagues were so eager to fete her upcoming nuptials to management consultant Thomas A. Daffron, that they put off a vote until Wednesday, our colleague Ed O’Keefe reports.

Campaign blasé? So, 2.123 million people tuned into to HBO’s take on Sarah Palin, “Game Change,” on Saturday night -- which sounds like plenty, but as our colleague Lisa De Moraes points out, “that’s slightly fewer people than sat down the next afternoon at 2 to watch a rerun episode of History’s “Pawn Stars.”

Blame it on election apathy.