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Gingrich marches on -- as fewer pay attention

Ann Heisenfelt / AP

Newt Gingrich listens at left, as his wife Callista introduces him during a campaign stop at Hood College in Frederick, Md., Monday, April 2, 2012.

MILLSBORO, Del. - A full month has passed since Newt Gingrich has won a Republican presidential primary contest. And that victory, of course, came in his former home state of Georgia.

Since then, so much has changed for Gingrich and his campaign.

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On a typical day a few weeks ago, Gingrich's staff was everywhere at campaign events: his chief of staff, his campaign spokesman, his bodyman, his press director, his bus director, his advance staff.

Now? Gingrich has mostly been traveling just with his spokesman and Secret Service protection. That bodyman, who used to appear with Gingrich everywhere he went, was dispatched to run the campaign's North Carolina effort.

Callista, Gingrich’s wife, has even begun holding some events on her own, taking both her and a couple staffers out of the usual entourage.

After a third of Gingrich's staff were let go, the plug was pulled on most of their advance staff and production crews -- resulting in lower-key events.

Patriotic music no longer plays at events when the candidate and his wife take the stage. The traditional American flag backdrops have disappeared. And gone are the sound system and riser platform for media.

The traveling press bus that kicked off in Iowa on Dec. 27 ended late last month in Louisiana. Now just three network television embeds -- no print reporters at all -- are left covering Gingrich’s longshot bid fulltime. Local reporters still flock to his events, but national outlets tend to come only when Romney or Santorum are in the same area.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Newt Gingrich addresses a campaign town hall-style meeting at the Hodson Auditorium on the campus of Hood College, April 2, 2012 in Frederick, Md.

Gingrich acknowledged last week that it doesn’t bother him “much” that many embedded reporters are no longer covering his campaign. “Much as I like some of them personally, look, people are going to have to decide what they want to cover,” he said outside the state house in Annapolis, Md., on March 27. “Everywhere I go, we get a lot of coverage.”

And then there are the crowds, which have dwindled some over the past month. But people are still coming out to hear the former House speaker. Thursday night, Gingrich drew a couple hundred people to two campaign rallies at firehouses in Delaware.

Even the number of events are now smaller. During the month of January, it was typical for four to six events to be on Gingrich’s schedule on any given day. Recently, the candidate may only hold one. And the election night parties that started in Iowa have slowly been phased out by the campaign.

But these changes do not (at least on the surface) seem to faze Gingrich.

“I am happy with how it [the campaign] is being run right now,” Gingrich said Thursday night.

He still has a smile on his face each day, makes frequent stops at zoos (at least four since the start of the year), historical landmarks, and numerous state capitols [at least eight since the start of the year].

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Gingrich genuinely seems to be enjoying his run for the country’s highest office.

Stopping at Orville Wright’s home in Dayton, Ohio, Gingrich commented to his wife, “That was fun.” After a recent stop at the Salisbury, Md., zoo, he told a crowd at the local university, “It was cool.” And he admitted he had always wanted to be “a zoo director.”

To be sure, this situation for Gingrich is very similar to how it was back in the late summer, after most of his staff quit the campaign.

Little staff, few reporters, some smaller crowds, limited resources at events -- but a cheerful man running for president.