Newt Gingrich shot for the moon and fell way short. On Wednesday, the former House speaker formally ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, despite previously vowing to stay in the race until the GOP convention in August. Gingrich finishes his White House run with roughly $4.3 million in campaign debt.
Gingrich, the onetime Republican front-runner whose campaign struggled to gain traction after his South Carolina primary victory in January, called the entire experience a “truly wild ride.” Although stopping his campaign, Gingrich said he would continue to speak out on issues such as domestic energy independence, religious liberty and his much maligned proposal to colonize the moon.
“I’m cheerfully going to take back up the issue of space,” he added, referring to his much-mocked proposal to build a lunar colony by the end of his second term — which he explained that his wife repeatedly told him was not his best moment during the campaign. “This is not a trivial area.”
He insisted that while he is “not totally certain” he will get to the moon colony, he believes that his grandchildren Maggie and Robert, on stage with him today, would.
Now that Gingrich’s own campaign is over, the big question is whether he will actively support Mitt Romney’s challenge to President Obama. Though not exactly offering up a sparkling endorsement of Romney, he called the presumptive GOP presidential nominee “conservative enough.”
The New York Times:
“I’m asked sometimes, is Mitt Romney conservative enough?” Mr. Gingrich said toward the end of a 25-minute departure speech. “Compared to Barack Obama? This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in history.”
But that was as far as Mr. Gingrich would go toward suggesting that people ought to vote for Mr. Romney. There was no promise that he would campaign for Mr. Romney, or even that he would actively support him.
Newt Gingrich at the Republican Leadership Conference in 2011.