Gingrich looks past Super Tuesday to Alabama and Mississippi

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He urged an Alabama audience to use Twitter to spread the word about his gas price pledge, following up on a similar plea to a Tennessee audience to post a “Newt = $2.50 a gallon” status update. Gingrich is fundraising on his pledge to lower gas prices as president, and his website now accepts donations in that amount that they are calling the “Newt gallon” size.

Gingrich spoke at the Davidson Center of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, taking a brief detour from campaigning in the 10 states voting in the “Super Tuesday” sweep.

He took advantage of the setting to emphasize his support of space exploration. Gingrich took plenty of criticism from the media and his GOP rivals over his proposal in January to create a permanent lunar colony by the end of his second term as president. But he defended his vision in the speech.

“I was so surprised” Mitt Romney attacked him on space, Gingrich said.

“I couldn't imagine a candidate being as negative as both he and [Rick] Santorum were about the future,” he said. “This is the country that invented the future.”

Gingrich also reiterated his call for more GOP debates, after a lag in what had been a hectic schedule for debates through January. “The people in Alabama and the people in Mississippi deserve to see the candidates without cameras in the way,” he said.

“I do think the debates have actually been helpful, I think they have helped things substantially,” he said. Gingrich’s past surge was credited in part to his debate performances, and he has waned in the polls as a gap opened in the calendar between debates.

There has only been one debate since Jan. 26: The Feb. 22 debate in Mesa, Arizona.

Alabama & Mississippi both vote next Tuesday, March 13. Gingrich has publicly staked his campaign strategy on winning southern states and is looking forward to a big win in his homestate of Georgia, his first win since winning South Carolina’s vote in January.

“I think our margin here [in Georgia] will be four or five times the size of Romney’s margin in Michigan. I think we’ll get most of the delegates here,” he told the New York Times. He also predicted he would do well in the votes in Oklahoma and Tennessee.