Thank you all for your answers.
I certainly agree that space programs lead to innovation and advances in industry, and as such is money well spent. I am skeptical that manned missions, particularly the kind that he has proposed is the most prudent course to be taking. Unmanned exploration has yielded the type of innovations that everyone has been banking on. Mr. Gingrich might be able to have his 90% private funding initially, but it doesn’t follow that upkeep and continued operations would receive that type of funding. My skepticism doesn’t stem from putting money into the space program, but from the type of mission being proposed. I fail to understand the advantage of actually walking on Mars when unmanned missions can supply just as much, if not more data, without the cost of feeding a crew. Similarly a lunar base would seem excessive when there is already a functioning space station.
And of course this may just be big talk to entice voters in Florida. It will be interesting to watch this play out.