Gingrich: GOP establishment cheap version of Democratic establishment

Columbus, Ohio -- Newt Gingrich took a page out of the history books Monday to advocate for his vision of building a colony on the moon, saying America isn’t a country that is "stingy and afraid" but one that has reinvented itself over and over to create a better future.

The candidate blasted his rivals Rick Santorum and and Mitt Romney for assuming his call for a moon colony would involve more federal funding, saying that their reactions were proof that the Republican establishment is just a "cheap version of the Democratic establishment."

Tuesday marked the first day of multiple presidential nominating contests, with non-binding elections being held in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. Santorum and Romney are positioned to do well in those states and Gingrich appeared to avoid discussing the results by visiting the Super Tuesday state of Ohio -- where early voting has just begun – to present what his campaign has touted as "bold" solutions for America.

"Our elites are now so defeated, so cynical, so lacking in ambition that when I say let's have a bold program, it’s met with derision." Gingrich said.

"Why did my two Republican competitors instinctively decide we couldn’t go into space? Because they're cheap," Gingrich said, explaining he wanted to "unleash the American spirit" and make NASA more efficient, not spend more federal dollars. "They have no idea how technology works and they have no idea about how to create the future. And they think in narrow little boxes about government. But visionary people -- this is why I’m a Reaganite -- Reagan got it."

Arriving in Dayton, the hometown of the Wright Brothers, Gingrich argued the bicycle mechanics would never have built the first successful airplane had they waited around for outside funding to fulfill their dream.

"Can you imagine the modern era, everybody would have said to the Wright Brothers, have you applied for a federal grant?" Gingrich said to an amused crowd of over 400 people packed into Memorial Hall. "They wouldn’t have gotten it. They had no credentials to justify a bureaucrat in Washington sending them money. So the result was they didn't wait around and ask, they just did it."

Gingrich said his campaign was built on the "tradition of the Wright brothers," which he described as "entrepreneurial pro-growth conservatism."

"I'm happy to debate my opponents on whether or not a bold, visionary exciting job-creating future that secures our national security by having us lead the way rather than China or Russia or India, whether that's the right path for a strong, prosperous America," Gingrich said.