Republican Newt Gingrich brings campaign to UNC Wilmington - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Gingrich speaks in front of packed crowd at UNC Wilmington

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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich brought his campaign to the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Wednesday. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich brought his campaign to the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Wednesday.
He told the students and community members that he wants to create personal social security accounts and that the country's strategy should be to become energy independent. (Source: Ashlea Kosikowski) He told the students and community members that he wants to create personal social security accounts and that the country's strategy should be to become energy independent. (Source: Ashlea Kosikowski)
Gingrich began speaking just after 3:30 p.m. in front of a packed crowd inside Lumina Theatre on the UNCW campus. (Source: Ashlea Kosikowski) Gingrich began speaking just after 3:30 p.m. in front of a packed crowd inside Lumina Theatre on the UNCW campus. (Source: Ashlea Kosikowski)
He also said that he is pitching a brain-science initiative to help find cures for autism and Alzheimer's, which would save the country billions of dollars. (Source: Ben Powell) He also said that he is pitching a brain-science initiative to help find cures for autism and Alzheimer's, which would save the country billions of dollars. (Source: Ben Powell)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich brought his campaign to the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Wednesday.

Gingrich began speaking just after 3:30 p.m. in front of a packed crowd inside Lumina Theatre on the UNCW campus. He told the students and community members that he wants to create personal social security accounts and that the country's strategy should be to become energy independent. Gingrich said that there are 24 billion barrels of oil in North Dakota and that drilling there will make the United State more energy independent and able to fight terrorism better.

He also said that he is pitching a brain-science initiative to help find cures for autism and Alzheimer's, which would save the country billions of dollars.

A protester, wearing an American flag shirt, briefly interrupted the candidate during his speech. UNCW Police made sure that he left peacefully.

Otherwise, the event was filled with supporters of the candidate.

"On everything, I find him to be brilliant," said June Bewkes, a Gingrich fan. "So, when he talks you learn something. The real professor in him comes out and I've never listened to him and not learned something."

The event's circumstances were originally unclear. Around 4:55 p.m. Friday, UNCW officials confirmed Gingrich's appearance via email, saying he will still be speaking at the school.

UNCW officials released the following statement in regards to the event:

"State policy requires that any political campaign event or candidate appearance on a public campus be sponsored by a registered student organization, as state higher education institutions must maintain political neutrality. The Gingrich event is sponsored by UNCW's College Republicans."

Gingrich asked the UNCW crowd to help him get through the primary. He is third in the delegate count behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

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