It’s been almost exactly eight months since former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, running for the Republican presidential nomination, offered his own vision for America’s future in space in a campaign stop in Cocoa, Florida, including establishing a lunar base by 2020 that might, eventually, lead to statehood. While that proposal was ridiculed in some quarters (including, perhaps most famously, in a Saturday Night Live skit), it certainly was a strong contrast to the approach around the same time by eventual nominee Mitt Romney, who focused more at the time on how he would develop a new space policy than what it would feature.
Given that difference, it’s not surprising that Gingrich is, perhaps, a little disappointed in the space policy white paper the Romney campaign issued Saturday. “The Romney plan for space starts to move in the right direction but could be much more robust,” he told NBC News on Sunday. “We could move into space much, much faster than we are. Romney is better than [President] Obama on space but could be bolder and more visionary.”
Gingrich didn’t specify in what ways Romney’s space policy was better that Obama’s. However, back in 2010 Gingrich and former House Science Committee chairman Bob Walker praised the Obama Administration’s “brave reboot” of NASA, in particular its emphasis on commercial partners, something the Romney space policy paper also supports.