Newt Gingrich Says He Will Pay to Bring Back The Panda Cam

This isn't the first time he's shown a soft spot for animals

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Luc Novovitch / Getty Images

Newt Gingrich handles a cockatoo, March 29 1996, on the Larry King Live show. The former House Speaker and animal lover told Talking Points Memo Friday that the closure of the Smithsonian National Zoo panda cam was one of the biggest disappointments of the shutdown.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s passion for pandas seems to transcend his politics.

The former Republican presidential candidate, who was a key figure in the government shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, told Talking Points Memo the closure of the Smithsonian National Zoo and its famed panda cam was “really, really sad.”

“I will personally pay the cost of panda cam’s electricity,” Gingrich said by phone. He pointed out that the San Diego Zoo’s panda cam is still live, but forgot to mention TIME’s very own panda cam.

While it may seem odd that Gingrich has a soft spot for pandas, he’s actually quite the animal lover. In August he posted an Instagram of himself playing with lemurs. He also once let a binturong sit atop his head and toted a Komodo dragon in a gym bag. Last year Gingrich even bottle fed a white tiger on television. He told CNN in 2011 that he once hoped to be a zoo director and has visited over 100 zoos.

Here’s a tumblr dedicated to the congressman’s many animal escapades.

7 comments
EleanorRigby
EleanorRigby

There is always a live person who works the panda cam.  Any time of the day or night.  Someone is there to manually adjust the cam to follow the mother as she moves around her den.  

The mom sits up,and the camera moves up and refocuses.  She lays down, and after a few adjustments, the lens recenters on her new location.  The cam person zooms in to see the cub when exposed - which is  now more frequent as the cub is growing rapidly.

LindaWarnke
LindaWarnke

Now I would like to see the campaign ads that will put these clips together of lawmakers offering to pay for veteran memorials and panda cams, interspersed with footage of sick children being locked out of care, and mothers of infants not able to buy enough food.

Then they can show all the attempts to offer to fund one bit at a time, with that scene from Sophie's Choice, and ask Which would YOU choose?

Then some yadda, yadda, yadda about how this is now way to run a government...

morgansher
morgansher

Paying for the Panda-cam's electricity should be easy and oh, so cheap.  Less easy and more costly would be making a meaningful contribution to his area's local food banks to help those  low ranking government workers who've been furloughed and won't be getting a paycheck to buy groceries soon.

auronlu
auronlu

"While you were out working, I switched off power, water, gas, heat, and all utilities, and took away your car, plus I changed the lock and got your name taken off our joint bank account. I won't give any of it back to you unless you give into all of my demands. But I'm willing to pay for Netflix because that's all I care about. What? Why are you complaining? You're SO UNREASONABLE! WHY CAN'T YOU COMPROMISE! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT." 

JohnMarkSappenfield
JohnMarkSappenfield

So Newt will put on a Panda costume and have the webcam follow him around.

GaryRMcCray
GaryRMcCray

I like Pandas too, too bad Newt doesn't like the American People.

pcowdin
pcowdin

Well, good for him! Newt is an egomaniac and a pompous ass, but anyone who loves animals can't be all bad. Can they?