Campaign Attack: St. Louis Penguin Bites Newt Gingrich

Apr 17, 2012 at 10:56 am

When Newt Gingrich lashed out at Fox News the other day, accusing it of unfairly slanting its coverage toward GOP primary rival Mitt Romney, you might say the candidate was biting the hand that fed him over the past decade.

Last Friday in St. Louis the former speaker of the House received his own bite to the hand by an evidently disgruntled Missouri resident with webbed feet.

Reuters has reported that Gingrich, in town this weekend for the National Rifle Association's annual convention, was nipped by a penguin while strolling through the Saint Louis Zoo. A zoo spokesperson and a Gingrich representative each confirmed that the bird's bite did not leave damage that a Band-Aid couldn't take care of. Gingrich has vowed to continue forward with his campaign, despite the zoo flap. Charges have not been filed.

Here is how Reuters narrated the attack:

Gingrich, who is trailing in the Republican race for the White House and is under pressure to withdraw, passed unscathed through Big Cat Country and avoided contact with the crocodiles in the Herpetarium. But his visit took a turn when a Magellanic penguin pecked at the candidate's hand.

What might have caused the bird to lunge at Gingrich?

Was this penguin a representative of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization that earlier this year assaulted Gingrich for supporting tax subsidies for factory farms? Was the penguin a secret plant for Mitt Romney, whose wealthy corporate donors are frequently spotted waddling around with puffy chests, dressed in black and white?

Perhaps the aggrieved bird was reacting to the candidate's recent statements doubting the existence of global warming, which seems to impact penguins at greater rates than humans.

In any case, Gingrich does not seem bitter. According to Reuters, the former speaker enjoys visiting zoos across the country. He also wrote the forward for America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families.