Newt became the first candidate to campaign in North Carolina, speaking to an overflow crowd at the Lumina Theater on the campus on UNC-Wilmington.
Gingrich used analogies comparing consumer credit card bills to the debt of the nation to tell the students, faculty and Wilmington-area residents in attendance about his goal to get the country to think differently.
The comparisons gave his speech the feel of a college professor's lecture, and he often nodded to students in the audience in the middle of his points on energy and foreign oil, saying, "Many of you who are taking economics can try this out."
Gingrich highlighted just two major platform planks, as he termed them, during the speech. Creating an American energy dependence program to produce oil in the country would limit terrorism, create jobs and bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon, he said. He also proposed a brain science initiative to work on finding cures for diseases like autism and Alzheimer's.
"We've got to become an innovative country again," he said. "We've got to develop new technology and new science."
The technology focus was part of what brought Andrew Brennan, a freshman at UNCW, to Gingrich's speech. Brennan, who's thinking about a major in physics, said he especially liked Gingrich's ideas about space exploration. He also liked the name recognition.
"To see the former speaker of the House, that's monumental," he said.
For Ryan Budd, also a UNCW freshman, the speech was about more than just a boldfaced name.
"I've been a Newt supporter since September of last year," he said. "He's how American democracy should be run."