The key word here is "comity." Gingrich needed some semblance of comity to get through the early stages of the race. To have people going after his messy personal life and his inability to manage his affairs would have invited disaster; and disaster is what he found in Iowa yesterday. His showing was an embarrassment for a candidate who should have placed second or third, if not first.
The mean version of Newt Gingrich is, simply put, the one you see every time someone lets him get on camera. His method of getting things done is to create confusion and distraction and then hope no one sees him shoving money into his pants.