If there was one critical takeaway for Florida voters from Thursday’s CNN Republican debate, it’s that Newt Gingrich’s opponents on stage all think of him as a bit of blowhard, with a lot of ideas that go nowhere.
The suggestion came up repeatedly, but nowhere was it more evident than during a discussion about the former speaker’s promise to build a space colony on the moon—made in a speech near the Kennedy Space Center.
“I’m not looking for a colony on the moon,” Mitt Romney shot back. “I think the cost of that would be hundreds of billions, if not trillions.
“The speaker comes here to Florida, wants to spend untold amount of money having a colony on the moon. In South Carolina, it was a new interstate highway, in New Hampshire, it was burying a power line coming in from Canada. This idea of going state to state and promising what people want to hear, promising billions, hundreds of billions of dollars … that’s what got us into the trouble we’re in now.”
Rick Santorum added that "going around and promising a whole bunch of new ideas and new projects and big ideas … we can’t do that now.”
Ron Paul took the opportunity to call Gingrich out on his claim that he balanced the budget four times when he was House speaker. “I went back and looked at the record,” Paul said. “The national debt during those four years actually went up about a trillion dollars … I think you’ve stretched that a little bit more than you should have.”
Gingrich tried to defend his lunar idea—but he never hit his stride. Voters will undoubtedly ask themselves if he can possibly fulfill all those promises he’s made, going from state to state.