For Newt Gingrich, whose campaign hit rock bottom last week with the mass exodus of his campaign staff, there is nowhere to go but up. Long known as an ideas man, Gingrich has a chance tonight in New Hampshire to outline some of those ideas, show off the upside of what it means to “let Newt be Newt,” and rescue his nascent White House bid.

So far, he has been one of President Obama’s harshest critics--on the stump in New Hampshire he called Obama the biggest “food stamp President”--and has given a major speech on replacing Obama’s health-care plan with a more market-based approach.

But his short time on the stump has been dominated by controversy over his comments on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal, his lavish Tiffany’s account, his Greek vacation, and finally the exodus of his staff.

The former Speaker of the House and academic has a knack for mixing history and policy in an accessible way, often coming across as the “think tank candidate.” But his penchant for bombast and flame-throwing (except liberal use of the words “fundamental” and “profound”) often means he steps on his own message.

The question tonight is whether he can put all of the considerable baggage of the last few weeks behind him, and come across as a credible and disciplined candidate. It’s a tall order for Gingrich who is now a candidate unto himself.