Newt Gingrich's Campaign: A Look Back

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Newt Gingrich has arguably had the most interesting campaign to cover this election cycle.

When he was at the top in the polls, back in November, he said, "This is a wild race, OK? Who knows what the polls are going to be two months from now?"

Just a month later, Gingrich told ABC News' Jake Tapper, "I'm going to be the nominee," a comment he later said was a "mistake."

Probably the most candid on the trail, Gingrich never shied away from a question, even about his weight: "I should lose weight; everybody who tells me I should lose weight, they are all correct. I just find it really hard to lose weight."

And he was slamming Fox News well over a year ago, "One of the real changes that comes when you start running for president -- as opposed to being an analyst on Fox -- is I have to actually know what I'm talking about."

As for the highly criticized and publicized Greek vacation he took early on when his campaign was in trouble, Gingrich found a way to spin his luxury cruise into a talking point on the European debt crisis.

"I visited Greece in June," he said. "I talked to people about what they were faced with in Greece. And I listened to them and I tried to understand they face a crisis of enormous proportions."

When it came to questions from the press about Mitt Romney, Gingrich just couldn't help himself, something both his press secretary and the press took note of.

Gingrich originally promised to run a positive campaign: "The only person I intend to be directly critical of is President Obama." He later said Mitt Romney "baited" him into being negative.

When Romney went on a morning show and said Gingrich should give back money he made consulting for Freddie Mac, Gingrich snapped back at a reporter, "I would just say that if Gov. Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned on bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years of being, then I would be glad to then listen to him, and I'll bet you $10, not $10,000 that he won't take the offer."

The Bain Capital hits began and so did the rivalry between the two when Romney compared Gingrich's campaign to Lucille Ball in a chocolate factory.

In an already-planned stop the day after the comment, Gingrich actually visited a chocolate factory and made chocolates. "Now that I have the courage to come to the chocolate factory, I hope Gov. Romney has the courage to debate me one-on-one."

Gingrich coined several ideas on the stump that got the attention of interest groups, media and voters far and wide.

Gingrich proposed children in poor communities work in their schools doing janitorial work, and also said some of those overpaid facility workers should be fired.

"They have no habit of showing up on Monday and staying all day or the concept of 'I do this and you give me cash,' unless it's illegal," Gingrich said, talking about the children who needed money and a reason to invest in their community.

Calling President Obama a "food stamp president," on a regular basis, Gingrich said he wanted to be the "paycheck president." One day in New Hampshire, Gingrich mixed that talking point with his willingness to speak to activist groups into a comment that stirred controversy.

"I'm prepared if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention and talk about why the African American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps," Gingrich said.

A look back at Gingrich wouldn't be complete without mentioning his moon base. "By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American," Gingrich said in Florida to a standing ovation.

From his many zoo visits, a stop a Space Camp in Alabama, to hilarious photo-ops like Gingrich putting an Etch A Sketch in a toy alligator's mouth in Louisiana, the reporters on the trail were never disappointed. "This is fun, isn't it?" Gingrich would often say to his staff and reporters following him.

"The fact is, I love life. I love getting up in the morning. I love seeing what the weather is going to be. I love animals. I love the process of interacting with people. I like learning," Gingrich told a group of students in Illinois in March. And frankly, it's the best self-explanation of Gingrich to date.