Sticking primarily to his conservative fiscal and social message, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich stumped on Marquette University campus Thursday evening during what appears to be the sunset of his campaign.
During the hour-long rally, the former speaker of the House spoke of several of his proposals, including creating a personal Social Security savings account system, establishing policies that would encourage energy independence, and creating a job-training requirement for those that receive unemployment.
"If you sign up for money, you have to be trained by a business," he said. "Remember, 99 weeks is long enough to get an associate’s degree and yet, we have given millions of people 99 weeks of money."
Gringrich worn a deep purple tie, while his wife Callista worn a bright yellow dress during the rally in Weasler Auditorium. The subdued auditorium was two-thirds full with a few hundred students, who were gentle with their applause during the event, which was sponsored by the College Republicans at Marquette University.
“I thought he was very impressive. He did a really good job at letting people know what his ideas are,” said Vince Beacom, a freshman at Marquette University.
The event came just days after reports surfaced that Gingrich had laid off one-third of his campaign staf and is cutting back on campaign appearances. The Marquette visit was Gingrich's first visit to Wisconsin and he only has two more planned before Tuesday's primary — that also will feature GOP rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Polls also show Gingrich trailing both Romney and Santorum by a wide margin — nationally and in Wisconsin.In a , just 4 percent of those surveyed said they planned to vote for Gingrich, which puts him last among the four candidates.
Despite that, Gingrich seems adamant about staying in the race.
"Our only opponent is Barack Obama, and we are committed in removing him from the White House," Callista Gingrich said when introducing her husband.
Gingrich used Abraham Lincoln's faith in God and the Wright brothers faith in themselves as examples of what the country should aspire to be in making the case that he is the right Republican candidate to challenge Obama in November.
The government “takes down crosses, blocks kids from praying in school and creates an environment that is anti-Christian and anti-Jewish,” he said when pushed by an audience member on his views on religious rights and the freedom of religion. “It is the government dominating religion.”
Gingrich took blistering shots at Obama, Congress and news media before fielding half a dozen questions from students.
"The poor would be dramatically better off if we had a Pell grant for K through 12," he said in answering a question about education funding, referring to voucher system. "If you say vouchers, liberals get all upset."