Former House Speaker, longtime zoo aficionado and soon-to-be CNN "Crossfire" co-host Newt Gingrich is pumped about the National Zoo's baby panda.
"Pandas are among the most loved of all animals," Gingrich pointed out in a phone interview Thursday with Whispers. "And obviously this is going to dramatically increase zoo attendance as people get excited."
Thursday morning the National Zoo announced that the panda, born on Aug. 23 to mother Mei Xiang, was a baby girl and that the father was the National Zoo's very own Tian Tian. Gingrich wondered why the paternity was even in dispute.
"Well, I did ask the question, under what circumstances was it going to be fathered by somebody else?" he asked. What led to the Maury moment was the fact the zoo had artificially inseminated mama panda with frozen sperm from both Tian Tian and Gao Gao, a male panda from the San Diego Zoo. "So the local panda's frozen sperm beat out the guest frozen sperm?" Gingrich said with approval.
Gingrich famously and frequently goes on zoo visits and documents his travels via Twitter. Also, having grown up in Harrisburg, Pa., his ties to the D.C.-based National Zoo go way back. "I go a couple times a year, and I just drift through the zoo and I love every part of the zoo," Gingrich said.
That being said, he's not planning on bringing his "Crossfire" crew, which includes conservative S.E. Cupp and liberals Stephanie Cutter and Van Jones, on a zoo field trip quite yet. That's because the rebooted CNN show's start date was moved up a week to Monday, Sept. 9 so the foursome could be part of the Syria conversation.
"I hate to report this, we are going to be drowning in rehearsals," Gingrich said, noting that they have all hung out in the past. "Well we did do a little dinner where we all got together. We also went to a Nationals game," Gingrich said.
Looking forward to "Crossfire," Gingrich already has a list of dream guests he'd like to see on the show, starting with President Barack Obama.
"My second guest would be President Clinton ... and my third dream guest would be Putin," he said, referring to the Russian president who has a prickly relationship with the U.S. as of late. "As you can tell I've lived a very rich fantasy life that I'm quite willing to have big dreams," he continued.
As far as even bigger dreams, dreams that might include moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Republican is keeping that door open.
"Well, look, it's a long, long way off, I think it's more accurate to say I'm not ruling it out," he said of running in 2016. Though right now, there's a lot on the plate. Gingrich has a book coming out in November, his wife, Callista, has a new "Ellis the Elephant" book coming out next month and then there's, of course, the launch of "Crossfire."
"We're pretty busy just doing the stuff we're doing, quite frankly," Gingrich said.