It turns out Saturday night’s debate was not the first time that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has invoked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s reported interest in lunar colonies. In an interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register on Friday, Romney brought up the subject when asked about how he differs with Gingrich on several issues. “I saw that the Speaker had a measure that I read about which was to put a permanent colony on the Moon to mine rare materials from the Moon,” Romney said. “Ah, I think we have some better priorities for our spending before we do that.”
Romney also brought up another space-related venture he linked to Gingrich. “He even talked about a series of mirrors that we could put in space that would light our highways at night. I’ve got some better ideas for our resources.” The video of the interview is available below; Romney’s mention of lunar colonies and space mirrors starts at approximately the 40:30 mark:
Romney appears to be referring to a column by David Brooks of the New York Times on Friday where Brooks criticizes Gingrich for supporting big government endeavors:
For example, he has called for “a massive new program to build a permanent lunar colony to exploit the Moon’s resources.” He has suggested that “a mirror system in space could provide the light equivalent of many full moons so that there would be no need for nighttime lighting of the highways.”
The source of the quotes in the Brooks column isn’t cited, but an initial search didn’t turn up anything recent (i.e., during the current campaign) said or written by Gingrich on those issues.