Discuss as:

Gingrich attracts another record crowd, defends immigration policy

By NBC's Alex Moe

NAPLES, FL -- For more than four hours, a long line wrapped around the entire top floor of Books-A-Million here just to have the chance to visit briefly with Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista.

“Frankly, like the bookstore, we are a little overwhelmed by the turnout here this morning,” the former House speaker told the more than 650 people who came out Saturday to copies of the Gingrich’s books autographed. “So thank you all for being here.”

One attendee, 8-year-old Katrina Russell, not only had a book autographed for her father, but also asked the presidential hopeful a few questions she had prepared.

“If you become president, will you order Godfathers Pizza?” Katrina asked Gingrich, reading off of a hand-written index card that Gingrich later wrote “good questions” on the back of.

“I like Herman Cain and Godfathers Pizza is good but I eat too much pizza, I’m not supposed to eat pizza,” the Speaker responded with a smile and was asked two more questions by the little girl.

“Someday if you work hard, you can grow up and be one of these folks,” Gingrich said as he nodded to the gathered media.

Later, Katrina, who one day hopes to be a reporter, told the press she would vote for Speaker Gingrich if she could.

“He’s a good person and I know that he’ll make good laws and that he’ll set the U.S.A. to some peace and he’s a really good person and that’s why I’m voting for him,” she added.

During the book signing, the Michele Bachmann campaign sent out an email accusing Gingrich of being the “most liberal GOP candidate on the issue of immigration reform.”

“Either Michele Bachmann can’t get her facts straight on understanding immigration reform or she is intentionally lying. Either of, it is disappointing in a presidential candidate,” spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News at the event in Southwest Florida.

Gingrich addressed this topic with the press after the rather long event concluded: “I am very happy to debate all of my friends in this race but it would be nice if they stuck to the facts and were willing to work at being honest.”

He also added about those who he spoke with Saturday: “it’s very interesting, the number of people who say I appreciate and agree with your position on immigration was substantial and no one said they were offended.

All of the roughly 550 copies of the Speaker’s ‘A Nation Like No Other’ and ‘Battle of the Crater’ sold out early this morning at the Books-A-Million (and many other local bookstores were sold out as well), in addition to about 200 copies of Callista’s ‘Sweet Land of Liberty.’

Gingrich was very pleased with the massive turnout for the second day in a row (last night’s town-hall event in Naples drew a crowd of roughly 750) and said he believes he can do very well in Florida’s primary.

“I think it will be pretty clear by Jan. 31st that I will be the conservative candidate in the race. I think by then it’ll probably be Gov. Romney and me,” Gingrich said.