Earlier this week, a 1954 AP brief surfaced telling the story of an eleven-year-old Newt Gingrich walking into Harrisburg, PA’s City Hall and offering to “round up” some animals and start a zoo in the town. He was denied, but Gingrich’s love for zoos prevailed. In fact, according to the Washington Post, Newt Gingrich loves zoos more than you have ever loved anything in your entire life.
In an extensive report, the Post describes Gingrich’s lifelong love affair with places he can look at animals in cages. Below are some facts from that piece, as well as some we made up. See if you can spot the fakes!
a) He wrote the foreword to the guidebook “America’s Best Zoos.”
b) His second wife, Marianne bought him an emerald tree boa and they kept it in their bathtub.
c) Newt’s third wife, Callista, is, in fact, a zoo.
d) After the Berlin Zoo’s famed polar bear Knut died, Gingrich tweeted, “Sad news! Just learned knut the polar bear died suddenly at 4- callista and I visited him in berlin when he was 5 months old-he was cute”
e) Between 1971-1980, Gingrich lived in the big cat house at the Sarasota Zoo.
f) As the Speaker of the House, Gingrich once introduced legislation that was just the word “zoo” repeated 3,500 times.
g) Newt estimates that he has visited over 95 zoos around the world.
h) He lists his three favorite hobbies as “reading, learning and visiting zoos.”
i) Newt once ate every single animal at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, saying that, “It was the closest I could ever get to having a zoo inside of me.”
[c, e, f, and i are made up, but feel free to tell people they’re true.]
Newt Gingrich is wild about zoos [Washington Post]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 10, 2011