The Corner

Gingrich: Campaign Was a ‘Truly Wild Ride’

Newt Gingrich suspended his campaign today, but emphasized he has no desire to retire from political life entirely.

“Suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship,” Gingrich said, speaking at a hotel in Arlington, Va. 

Looking back at the year he had spent campaigning, the former House speaker characterized it as a “truly wild ride.” 

“I could never have predicted either the low points or the high points,” he said. “It was all just sort of amazing and astonishing.”  

Gingrich thanked Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, “who singlehandedly came pretty close to matching Romney’s super PAC” in their donations to Gingrich’s political-action committee. And he apologized to South Carolina Republicans for ending their streak of picking the GOP nominee, saying he would feel “slightly guilty” every time he passed through the Palmetto State.

While he did not outright endorse Romney, Gingrich did stress that Romney was to be preferred over Obama. “This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan,” he pointed out. “This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in American history.”  Romney, Gingrich added, was also “60,000 times” more knowledgeable about how to spur job creation in the private sector than Obama.  

#more#He talked about issues — ranging from brain research to religious liberty — that he intended to focus on in the future. Criticizing the Senate as  “a stunningly dysnfunctional institution,” Gingrich called for a ”a national discussion about how to get Congress to be effective.” He also spoke about how he intended to promote study of American exceptionalism and history, saying “we can’t truly be Americans if we have amnesia about who we are, where we came from, and what principles made us great.” 

And yes, Gingrich will still campaign for a moon colony.

“I’m cheerfully going to take back up the issue of space,” he remarked. “My wife has pointed out to me approximately 219 times, give or take three, that moon colony was probably not my most clever comment in this campaign. I thought frankly in my role as providing material for Saturday Night Live, it was helpful.”

“This is not a trivial area,” Gingrich said of space. “This is a fundamental question about whether we’re still a country that dreams, and that goes out to pursue great adventure, and that has the courage to say to young people, ‘yes, you ought to go into math and science, because there’s a wonderful future doing really important things.’ I happen to think that’s a better future than metamorphine and cocaine and I’m going to argue for a romantic American future of doing things that matter, that get to the human spirit.”

“I’m not totally certain I will get to the moon colony,” Gingrich added later in the speech. But his grandkids, he thought, would: “I am certain Maggie and Robert will have that opportunity.”

“Newt Gingrich has brought creativity and intellectual vitality to American political life,” Mitt Romney said in a statement. “During the course of this campaign, Newt demonstrated both eloquence and fearlessness in advancing conservative ideas. Although he long ago created an enduring place for himself in American history, I am confident that he will continue to make important contributions to our party and to the life of the nation. Ann and I are proud to call Newt and Callista friends and we look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead as we fight to restore America’s promise.”

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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