Gingrich shoots for the moon
January 25th, 2012
09:52 PM ET
10 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. politics as usual

    Pretty soon he's going to be sick of people telling him he's crazy!

    January 25, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  2. Peter

    Statehood? Since when does the USA own the moon?

    January 25, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  3. Matt

    Bold Newt

    That's why he needs to be NEUTERED' he has no idea of the things he is actually proposing, when he's one of those that contends that America is 'Broke'.

    Actually, Gingrich belongs in least he already speaks as if he's on another planet...probably a solitary life on the moon would be good enough for him. The beautiful American women would have one less 'SEXUAL MONSTER' to be scared of.

    Oh! how weird!!!,

    January 25, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  4. ithink122

    Amazing the about face he is able to pull while still being able to keep his base. It always amazes me how Republicans are able to do that. I don't know if it is their charisma and speech skills or the gullibility of their conservative followers.

    First he is against out of control government spending. Now he wants to colonize the moon and go to mars in 8 years. Perhaps he isn't aware these things cost money. Maybe he doesn't realize how much. Who knows. All I know is that any conservative follower of his who argues against out of control government spending but who then immediately forgets that line of reasoning and wants to pursue this agenda, which does sound grand and nice but would probably double or triple our current national debt for a non emergency purpose, has, in my mind, lost all credibility.

    January 25, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. Christopher

    I guess he imagines that he is James T. Kirk. And wants to be the first man to nail an alien female in space.

    January 25, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  6. Martha in CF

    We've already been to the moon Gingrich. Let us get our debt under control before shooting off to some other destination. Anyway, what is wrong with companies working on this.......How about the Koch Brothers-I'm sure they could pay for all the fuel to Mars.......

    January 25, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  7. John Foster

    What a tremendous waste of money that we don't even have. Gingrich is NOT a conservative by any stretch of the imagination.

    January 25, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  8. kenny

    Gingrich may be shooting for the moon but the poor man doesn't realize he is shooting blanks.

    January 25, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  9. Pat

    Well, God knows he couldn't possibly solve the problems the republicans created, why not the moon?

    January 25, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  10. Engineer

    The moon is cool and all, but America has some real problems that need down-to-earth solutions. We should fix the economy first, then worry about frivolities like moon colonies. Gingrich keeps spitting out these laughable ideas like so much flatulence. I am shocked that people take him seriously.

    January 25, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Newt says Mitt lives in fantasy land and Nancy lives in fantasy land.

    He seems to be obsessed with fantasies himself. "To the Moon, Newt" (Jackie Gleason – ha ha ha ha ha)

    January 25, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We need to have reasonable plans for space missions. I would like to say that we need to have plans for orbital stations that are larger than the current space station as well as plans for prolonged missions to the Moon, Mars and the astroids. It is ashame that Congress and NASA haven't been able to keep funding level and set forth short, medium and long term goals.

    January 25, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  13. billfromfairfax

    Hey Newt,
    How's about a base on or in Uranus? Or how's about focusing on the real problems on this planet? That would be very bad decisions in the past ten years, today's challenges, and perhaps, what immediately lies ahead, or even more radically, articulating the consequences of ignoring any of the above. If you have trouble understanding any of the words longer than 5 or 6 letters, ask your ex-wife, she seems much smarter than you.

    January 25, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  14. SmallBizOwner

    So... who is going to pay for that? Newt is not saying "Private Exploration of space". He wants to spend ANOTHER trillion of our tax dollars building George Jetsons house on the moon?

    Does Newt realize that we are, at our current rate of debt, going to owe about 21 Trillion dollars in the year 2020, and the interest on our debt will probably suck up 1/2 of our revenues. THIS IS AN INSANE PROPOSAL.

    Why not just say we are going to built robots that "transform" into cars and these will defend us from the DECEPTICONS.

    I KNOW... Hey Newt. maybe we can build a DEATH STAR to protect us, and a shield generator in the Sequoia National Forest that protects it. I hope some furry monkeys and rebels don't try to blow it up!!

    MINE THE MOON FOR MINERALS??? I'm sorry.. I thought the moon was made of CREAM CHEESE! Is it made of gold now?


    VOTE MITT OR ITS A VOTE FOR OBAMA. Newt is a joke.

    January 25, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  15. My name is Jose Jimenez

    Did this guy hear trains instead of brains and has been doing chew chew ever since?

    newt = a low life form than lives in damp dark places.

    January 25, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  16. CoJo

    as I mentioned before: Gingrich : search for "Gingrich promises US moon colony by 2020".

    you know the angle he is heading for. He thinks he'll coordinate private industry to do most of the work. Gingrich thinks he is another JFK... Gingrich will cut medicare and social security so he can look like JFK with a new and improved NASA. I'm all for a NASA program (it was and still is the leading edge stuff when it is allowed to do so). But we would need the proper person to lead that initiative... he ain't it (republicans in general are not). And the TEA PARTY is quiet about the amount of money it WILL to the debt. TEA PARTY is worse than useless.

    January 25, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  17. Joymar

    The man is crazy! What more is there to say? Except that the money spent on going to the moon could be used to feed homeless and starving people here in the US.

    Oh that he has the morals of an alley tom cat in heat!

    January 25, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  18. joe

    An American base on the moon... I don't think this is the kind of thing our country needs right now.

    January 25, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  19. Paul

    I don't know whether to laugh or throw something at my computer monitor. This guy is so desperate. One of the many things I really do not understand is, if we're to have smaller government, how will we build a colony on the moon?

    January 25, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  20. ww

    "To the Moon Alice!"

    January 25, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Newt Gingrich / Tom DeLay

    Dream Team 2012

    January 25, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  22. donna

    Gingrich wants to increase the police state with searches and drug tests for anyone receiving government money. This includes all public services such as libraries and schools. Are you getting a school loan? Be prepared to be groped. (Dick Morris is pulling his strings.)

    January 25, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  23. jim

    Pander much? He says this in Florida because NASA-spending means big revenue for the state. He might as well say "vote for me and I'll give you a kick-back". I thought Republicans were supposed to be against this kind of thing.

    January 25, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. Brian

    Wow. . . . Way to boost the economy Newters, lets spend billions on space so we can land on a rusted rock, to find out that it's' rusted. . . .

    January 26, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  25. anagram_kid

    Or, we could focus those dollars, time and resources to develop renewable energy technology that the US could use to end dependence on foreign oil and US companies could sell to foreign markets; China for example.

    Obama 2012

    January 26, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
1 2