Republican Newt Gingrich spoke to a crowd of about 300 people Tuesday at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
Several supporters sported homemade Gingrich signs. The crowd seemed enthused to welcome Gingrich to Huntsville.
The presidential candidate showed he knows what kind of audience attends a political event at The Davidson Center. He emphasized his plans to continue space exploration in a big way.
"America has a destiny in space; it is a part of who we are," said Gingrich. "We are not going to back off from John Kennedy's challenge, and we are not going to go timidly into the night, allowing the Chinese to dominate the future of space."
However, Gingrich didn't necessarily give a ringing endorsement of NASA.
"I was proposing that we find a public-private partnership," said Gingrich. "That we use prizes and that we encourage every entreprenurial talent in America to become excited and be involved."
Gingrich also used space to take his biggest shot at a Republican opponent. He says Mitt Romney simply doesn't have the ambition to encourage space travel.
"Governor Romney said if he'd been in business and somebody came in to him with a big idea he'd have fired him," said Gingrich. "And I realize he said he likes firing people. What occurred to me is he would have fired Christopher Columbus. He would have fired John F. Kennedy."
Gingrich also addressed foreign policy issues during his stop in Huntsville. Specifically, he focused on The Strait of Hormuz, a narrow, strategically waterway in The Persian Gulf. Around 20 percent of the world's oil passes through the strait.
Energy and gas prices played the biggest role in Tuesday's speech. Gingrich used the topic to differentiate himself from President Barack Obama.
"Obama is willing to make us pay a European level of nine or ten dollars a gallon," said Gingrich. "I want to keep it down to $2.50 or less so that every American has a chance to buy a car. Obama wants to tell us what kind of car we should buy. I believe if you work and you save and it's your money, you get to buy the car or truck you want."
The audience of Gingrich supporters took it all in with great enthusiasm.
Gingrich says he expects to win Georgia and outperform expectations in many other places in the primaries on Tuesday, March 6. He also told the crowd he intends to challenge Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum to a debate in Alabama before the March 13 primary.
After the rally, Gingrich toured the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville.
On Wednesday, Gingrich has events scheduled in Montgomery, Pell City and Birmingham.