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Gingrich went on to tell the audience at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Palatine, Ill., that despite being "at the edge of such extraordinary opportunities," it was a struggle to get Republicans to understand the potential of new frontiers and dramatic change.

“We’re at the edge of extraordinary opportunities. We can provide for the American people such a dramatically better future that it’s almost unimaginable,” Gingrich said. “And our political system is so methodically and deliberately stupid — and I use that word deliberately, the willful avoidance of knowledge — that it’s astonishing.”

Gingrich's roller-coaster campaign hit a new low Tuesday, when second-place finishes in Mississippi and Alabama undermined his Southern strategy and essentially narrowed the GOP nominating fight to a two-man race between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.

But Gingrich said he was pressing on "because the vacuum was so huge" between him and the other candidates.

“We cannot be a normal party. If we run a normal campaign trying to govern within the framework of the current system, we have no future because people would rather have Democrats doing it; they at least enjoy it," Gingrich said. "We are miserable trying to govern within their system. We are in the business of changing Washington, not being accepted by it. It’s a fundamentally different model.”

Gingrich will be campaigning throughout Illinois for the remainder of the week.