Gingrich then went to Salisbury, where he visited the city zoo before arriving at Salisbury University. He spoke for about an hour, sprinkling historical anecdotes throughout an address that emphasized the importance of natural gas as a route to energy independence, investing in medical research on the brain, partly privatizing Social Security and reducing the size of the federal government.
Gingrich reaffirmed his commitment to a robust U.S. space program, but said he'd prefer to see the money come from the private sector rather than from government spending on facilities such as the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
"There's no reason for this country to have any significant problems," he told the students. "They're almost all an artifact of a really bad governing structure and a really incompetent bureaucratic system."
Gingrich chose to campaign Tuesday in settings that are not necessarily politically friendly territory. Maryland's General Assembly, for instance, has in the past year advanced same-sex marriage legislation and a bill allowing illegal immigrants to attend state universities at in-state tuition rates. And it is considering hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases.
Gingrich faced tough questions in Salisbury, where at least a few of the students turned out despite not being supporters.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," joked Jessica Barr, a 19-year-old from Baltimore County who said she heard about the event from a political science professor.
Eric Mears, a 21-year-old Republican from Rockville, said he was impressed by Gingrich's focus on the issues.
"He offered a lot of actual reasonable solutions," the Salisbury junior said. "Up to this point, I really haven't heard a lot of solutions."