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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gingrich seeks an audience at the Tampa zoo



TAMPA — When you're Newt Gingrich and you're mired in the back of the pack of GOP presidential candidates, you need to come up with novel ways to draw a crowd.

The former U.S. House speaker hosted a fundraising event Tuesday for the Tampa Bay Young Republicans at Lowry Park Zoo. There were plenty of empty chairs in the auditorium and more than enough cheese and fruit on the buffet table for the 75-or-so people who showed up.

No money changed hands. But Gingrich and his wife, Callista, cheerfully mingled with the crowd at the zoo's Safari Lodge after first viewing the resident manatee hospital there, and they encouraged the club photographer to organize a photo line for guests to pose with the couple.

"This is a particular treat for me," said Gingrich, 68, who estimates he has been to 100 zoos since he was a child. "It's a very, very good zoo."

The event also was a chance for the Gingriches to screen their film, A City Upon a Hill: The Spirit of American Exceptionalism. (story here)

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 10:01pm]


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