Gingrich shoots for the moon
January 25th, 2012
09:52 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich shoots for the moon

Cocoa, Florida (CNN) - Newt Gingrich laid out his “bold” vision for space exploration Wednesday, including the goal of putting an American base on the moon by 2020.

The former House speaker was campaigning on Florida’s “Space Coast,” named for the heavy influence of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, located on Merritt Island, and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Florida holds its primary January 31.

CNN LIVE: Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Republican Party of Florida Debate hosted by Wolf Blitzer and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the Florida primary, go to or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @politicalticker

In his speech, Gingrich made no apologies for his “grandiose ideas” on space, which some of his opponents have cited as a fault.

“I accept the charge that I am an American and Americans are instinctively grandiose,” he said. Rival candidate Rick Santorum hit Gingrich at a GOP debate in South Carolina for having “grandiose” plans that lacked proper execution.

Rival Mitt Romney has mocked Gingrich’s space proposals, saying during a December 10 debate he was not in favor of Gingrich’s “idea to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the moon.”

Romney added, “I’m not in favor of spending that kind of money to do that.”

Gingrich pointed Wednesday to a proposal he made early in his career, which would have allowed American residents of the moon to petition for statehood when they reached a population of 13,000.

Gingrich admitted Wednesday the proposition was “the weirdest thing I’ve ever done,” but said he was still a proponent of the plan.

“I will, as president, encourage the introduction of the ‘Northwest Ordinance’ for space to put a marker down that we want Americans to think boldly about the future, and we want Americans to go out and study hard and work hard and together we're going to unleash the American people to build the country we love,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich said Romney missed the larger point when criticizing his space plan.

“Here's the difference between romantics and so-called practical people,” Gingrich said, contrasting himself to Romney. “I wanted every young American to say to themselves, ‘I could be one of those 13,000, I could be a pioneer.’”

Gingrich said Americans should feel “part of a generation of courageous people who do something big and bold and heroic.”

The White House hopeful didn’t stop at the moon, saying Mars would also be in America’s sights if he were elected president.

“By the end of 2020, we will have the first continuous propulsion system in space capable of getting to Mars in a remarkably short time, because I am sick of being told we have to be timid and I am sick of being told we have to be limited in technologies that are 50 years old,” Gingrich said.

Also see:

Live blog: 2012 State of the Union

New Freddie Mac contract prohibits 'lobbying activities'

Romney resets image with postcards from the edge

Gingrich gets major help

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Video Guy

    Ok then, how do we pay for this? Mr Gingrich is so full of it.

    January 26, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  2. Lunar Ambitions

    If the term lunacy could every apply to a person absolutely perfectly, it applies to Gingrich after this promise.

    January 26, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  3. alkarrk

    He missed the moon, and shot himself in the foot instead. What a wacko. Romney 2012!

    January 26, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  4. fam4freedom

    And how will lunar and Mars colonies produce more jobs on American soil?

    January 26, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  5. Facepalm28

    Wow....does anyone honestly believe Gingrich is going to say another word about space programs the minute he leaves Florida? If Gingrich ever got into the White House and started slashing programs, I guarantee you we'd be hearing all about what a worthless, pie-in-the-sky waste of billions space exploration is.

    The heck of it is, I do agree space exploration is important, for economic benefit as well as just technology and its national security applications (the 1960s Sapce Race led directly to the computer industry). I actually agree with the point, I just don't believe Newt agrees with it for a second. Most transparent political pandering yet this election cycle.

    January 26, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  6. sadlyperturbed

    So did Newt also say how he planned to pay for this project? Or is this another unfunded idea? He spouts economic garbage out of one side of his mouth, and massive spending out of the other. Does he want smaller government? It sure doesn't sound like it. A project like the one he is talking about would take thousands of highly paid scientists and thousands more to build these ships, buildings, domes, etc. necessary before it could ever even be thought of as reality.

    January 26, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  7. GreenCollarWorker

    Loony much, Newt?

    January 26, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  8. BeverlyNC

    Where was Gingrich when the Republican Congress destroyed most of the funding for NASA? Republicans do not believe in science and technology and caused the loss of many jobs at Cape Kennedy, the lack of funding to maintain our space station ourselves, and to move to the next frontier – deep space exploration. What hypocrites to pretend they care about space, innovation, and science when they just stripped NASA of funding and have destroyed our education system across the nation!

    January 26, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  9. jman17

    Wow, I'm not sure how comfortable I would feel with this "romantic" behind the Army's big red button. How do people breath in a moon colony?

    January 26, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  10. Kevin

    drudgereport . com:


    NEWT 1986: 'The Reagan administration has failed, is failing... President Reagan is clearly failing'...

    NEWT 1988: 'If Bush runs as continuation of Reaganism he will lose'...

    January 26, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  11. Scotty

    I'm trying to keep my house and Newt wants to send my potential buyers to the moon? What's next? This guy is a freak show.

    January 26, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  12. Marry

    How about the GOP/TP concentrating to help fix what they broke the last time they were in power, Newt? How about starting the “part of a generation of courageous people who do something big and bold and heroic for the American people” with the GOP in Congress? Well, we better do not hold our breath for that to happen (did you see their faces during the SOTU written obstruction all over them?) – better vote them out in November!

    January 26, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  13. Bigwilliestyles

    So Newt wants a "Northwest Ordinance"? What, to go with his 'Northwest Imperative?

    January 26, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  14. Howard

    Obama and his self serving propagandists have succeeded in poisoning the reputations of many, in their efforts to eliminate all who oppose him. They would be unable to succeed in their evil, ugly efforts, if not for the blind and stupid complicity of the biased main stream media, and stooges, like the bloggers here, who always demonize his detractors, no matter how true their accusations. Obama is a thin skinned egomaniac, who gets worse, with each measure of additional power he gains.
    The Liberals are scared to death of Newt Gingrich.
    Gingrich has the experience, smarts, and guts, to take the fight to the corrupt obama machine, and win.

    January 26, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  15. Woohooo!

    I dont care about anything else this man stood for. He just got my vote

    January 26, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  16. s

    Oh WEASEL will say anything to get votes, an also where is the money, we don't have money for this type of garbarge.
    Maybe you can send your wife to set things up

    January 26, 2012 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  17. geggyg

    If Pres Obama came up with a similar plan , Gingrich would be the first out there asking how will he pay for it, so how Newt how will you pay for your plan , either lots of direct dollars from the Govt ot generous tax concessions for business, so i bet it be more cuts to education , health , infrastructer and SS .

    January 26, 2012 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  18. Georgia Tee

    Newts on the moon !

    January 26, 2012 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  19. MikeDeAng

    Gingrich pointed Wednesday to a proposal he made early in his career, which would have allowed American residents of the moon to petition for statehood when they reached a population of 13,000.

    why am I not surprised? Maybe we could send Newt there to be the first governor....and I would be all for using tax payer funds to send his supports there to.....

    January 26, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    More big government ideas with no way to pay for them? Sick is a good word to describe the entire clown show of republican candidates.

    January 26, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  21. Cfrench

    Typical republican, thinks that everything belongs to the United States and can therefore be exploited. Just because an American set foot on the moon forst that means the United States owns it? I'll bet ol' Newt would be in favor of fracking and strip mining the moon in order to extract whatever minerals are there.

    January 26, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
1 2