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Newt Gingrich: No one understands me

Newt Gingrich takes the podium at the Alabama Primary night rally
Newt Gingrich AP Photo

(CBS News) PALATINE, Ill. - Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich late on Wednesday expressed frustration with both the news media and the Republican Party establishment for failing to understand his "large ideas" for transforming American politics.

As calls for Gingrich to bow out of the race grew louder following his second-place finishes in Mississippi and Alabama Tuesday - two states he said he stood a good chance of winning - the candidate seemed to be in low spirits and offered a grumpy analysis of the state of the GOP primary to a crowd that gathered for a Lincoln Day Dinner in this Northwestern suburb of Chicago.

"The thing I find most disheartening of this campaign is the difficulty of talking about large ideas on a large scale, because the news media can't cover it and candidly, my opponents can't comprehend it," Gingrich said, while also vowing to continue his campaign to the convention in Tampa this summer.

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He called himself the only candidate of the four still in the contest "focused on ideas and ... solutions and not just the usual politics" and the only one advocating wholesale change to a political system that is "methodically and deliberately stupid."

Other parts of his speech covered topics ranging from President Abraham Lincoln promoting the transcontinental railroad to the anti-fraud system of the American Express credit card company. Gingrich spoke of the need for a "technological revolution" in government, but lamented that no one but him seemed to understand that.

"Let me just talk for a second about technology and grand opportunities," he said. "Other than Ronald Reagan, I know of no Republican in my lifetime who's been able to talk about this. That's why I'm still running."

The former House speaker from Georgia has recently focused his campaign on the issue of high gas prices, promising as president to restore them to no more than $2.50 a gallon. But he often also speaks at length on a wide range of topics, covering everything from brain science to space exploration to the need to utilize modern management practices to reform entire sectors of the government.

"I want to be the candidate of science and technology," he said. "Whether it's on energy, it's on stopping crooks in Medicare and Medicaid, it's on getting into space, which I was ridiculed (for), or it is on helping you make sure that your family doesn't suffer from something that could be avoided."

And he chided fellow Republicans for failing to see the need for a party makeover. The GOP, he said, has been governing like the Democratic Party since 2006, when it lost control of the Congress.

"We cannot be a normal party," he told the suburban Republican crowd. "If we run a normal campaign, trying to govern within the framework of the current system, we have no future, because people would rather have Democrats do it. They at least enjoy it."

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