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At CPAC, Gingrich Takes Aim At 'Republican Establishment'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Newt Gingrich was the last presidential candidate to speak Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

And he kept his Mitt Romney powder dry, preferring instead to attack establishment Republicans who have not embraced the Gingrich campaign. To put it mildly.

That establishment, Gingrich charged, is "managing the decay" of the party, and sees his campaign as a "mortal threat" to their insider Washington lives.

"We intend to change Washington," the former House speaker said, "not accommodate it."

Delivering a version of his familiar stump speech, Gingrich faced a lukewarm crowd that he managed to bring around with his trademark mix of humor, history, media jabs and a laundry list of promises whose only omission was his plan to build a lunar colony.

These are the bold ideas, Gingrich said, after ticking off the legislation he would repeal, the federal agencies he'd close, and the study commissions he has planned.

He acknowledged his lack of money and organization, but said he's undeterred.

"We are running a people campaign," Gingrich said, with little money, but with "a plan."

"We need to teach the Republican establishment a lesson," he said.

Gingrich's address followed speeches earlier in the day by two of his three rivals for the GOP presidential nomination: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Texas Rep. Ron Paul did not attend the event.

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