Newt’s Done Running, Not Done Shooting for the Moon

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Dreaming the impossible dream.Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Today is, fundamentally, the end of an era. Newt Gingrich will announce the end of his campaign for president and throw his support behind Mitt Romney. No longer will Americans be able to combine our national pastime — looking at cute pictures of animals on the Internet — with the civic duty of following the campaign. Unless Ann Romney makes a radical change at her next visit to the salon, we'll also have to abandon another American tradition: making snide remarks about some blonde chick's haircut.

Newt might have to give up the ghost on his presidential hopes — he told USA Today in an exit interview that he wouldn't try again. "I'm already 68 years old," he told the paper. "I believe Mitt Romney will become president. I believe he will do well enough to be re-elected, and I do not think in 2020 I'll be a plausible candidate." He might have said, in what sounds to us like a rather embittered kind of support, that Romney "ended up being tough enough and being good enough at raising money" to win. But his real dreams? Still going.

He wished he had started out with a "bolder" campaign that eschewed consultants and focused on big ideas such as brain research and energy independence, he said. With "more discipline and more courage to be more outside the mainstream, it might have worked better. [...]

He said he had been surprised by the "irresponsible and cynical reaction to my proposals for space" by "the elites." The emotional reaction of Americans to recent retirement flights of the space shuttle proves "the country still has a romantic desire to do great things," he said.

Don't ever change, Newt.