Newt Gingrich: 8 of the GOP idea man's more unusual ideas

Newt Gingrich is a big ideas guy. Ask anybody. Some of the ideas end up working, like the one a couple of decades ago that the Republican Party could actually take control of the House after 40 years of Democratic rule. Others are a little out there. An elaborate system of space mirrors to light highways? Check. Say what you will, but at least the former House speaker – and now the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination – has a fertile imagination. Here are some of his more unusual ideas.

Charlie Neibergall/AP
Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during a discussion about brain science research, Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the University of Iowa College of Public Health in Iowa City, Iowa.

1. Establishing a moon colony to extract minerals

Bullit Marquez/AP
Gingrich has designs on this piece of celestial real estate.

Mr. Gingrich loves the idea of establishing a lunar colony to exploit the moon’s mineral resources. Mitt Romney, Gingrich’s top challenger for the nomination, chose that as his top example of an area of disagreement with Gingrich at the Dec. 10 debate.

“I'm not in favor of spending that kind of money to do that,” said Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

Gingrich’s response: “I'm happy to defend the idea that America should be in space and should be there in an aggressive, entrepreneurial way.”

The former speaker mentioned moon colonies at a recent town hall meeting in Bluffton, S.C., when a student asked about working for NASA. But it’s not clear that Gingrich believes lunar colonies should be funded publicly. In the past, he has proposed cutting back on NASA and incentivizing private companies to offer space travel.

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