Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker who formally suspended his quest for the Republican presidential nomination May 2, delivered a concession speech that restated his interest in shaping U.S. space policy.

“I am cheerfully going to take back up the issue of space,” Gingrich told supporters at the Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Va. “My wife pointed out to me approximately 219 times, give or take three, that ‘Moon colony’ was probably not the most clever comment in this campaign. I thought, frankly, in my role as providing material for ‘Saturday Night Live’ that it was helpful, but the underlying key point is real. The fact is, if we are going to be leading the country in the world, we have to be leading the country in space. The fact is, our bureaucratic red-tape-ridden system doesn’t work.”

Gingrich was ridiculed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — the apparent GOP nominee — and his Republican rivals for calling in January for a permanent U.S. base on the Moon by 2020.