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Gingrich promises moon

Newt Gingrich told a cheering crowd along Florida's Space Coast late Wednesday that he would establish a permanent colony on the moon, and develop a spacecraft that can get to Mars, by the end of his second term as president.

world Updated: Jan 27, 2012 00:27 IST

Newt Gingrich told a cheering crowd along Florida's Space Coast late Wednesday that he would establish a permanent colony on the moon, and develop a spacecraft that can get to Mars, by the end of his second term as president.


Gingrich, who has long held a fascination with space exploration and has talked extensively about further missions to the moon, Mars and beyond, committed for the first time to pushing aggressively for such programs if he wins the White House. Just a few miles from Cape Canaveral, he played to a crowd eager for a renewal of the nation's space program. The speech also gave him a chance to tweak Mitt Romney, his leading rival for the GOP nomination, who has mocked Gingrich's "zany" ideas.

"I was attacked the other night for being grandiose," Gingrich said. "I would just want you to note: Lincoln standing at Council Bluffs was grandiose. The Wright Brothers standing at Kitty Hawk were grandiose. John F. Kennedy was grandiose. I accept the charge that I am grandiose and that Americans are instinctively grandiose."

The line drew raucous applause from a crowd of at least 500 in a hotel ballroom here, as did Gingrich's lengthy riff on his fascination with space travel.

His interest goes back to his early youth, when he read Missiles and Rockets magazine and obsessed over the Soviet Sputnik program.

He also proclaimed that the "weirdest thing" he ever did in Congress was to introduce a "Northwest Ordinance for space" that would allow a moon colony to become a state once 13,000 lived there.

Asked afterward by a reporter when the moon-state would hold its presidential primary, Gingrich said, "I think the moon primary would probably come late in the season."

The Washington Post