At a Glance
- Career History:
Speaker of the
(1995 to 1998), Congressman from
(1978 to 1998), Co-author "The Contract with America" (1994), professor, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Ga.
- Birthday: June 17, 1943
- Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.
- Alma Mater: Bachelor's Degree, Emory University, Atlanta, 1965; Master's Degree, Tulane University, New Orleans, 1968; Doctorate, Tulane University, 1971.
- Spouse: Callista Bisek Gingrich
- Religion: Southern Baptist
- Office: Office of Speaker Newt Gingrich5555 Glenridge Connector Suite 950Atlanta, GA 30342
Path to Power
Newton Leroy McPherson, known to his family as "Little Newtie" and to the American public as Newt Gingrich, has always seemed to know where he was headed and never let naysayers or failure deter him.
Gingrich, an Army brat who lived around the world and always appeared more mature than his years, was 10 years old in 1953 when he walked into city hall in Harrisburg, Pa., and told city officials that change was needed. Harrisburg, the young Gingrich said, needed a zoo. Gingrich's hometown newspaper, The Harrisburg Patriot-News, wrote about Gingrich's quest after the boy went to the city council with his proposal. Harrisburg didn't open a zoo, but a political activist and agent of change was born. As was the media star who 26 years later would tell Newsweek that "If you're not in The Washington Post every day, you might was well not exist."
In a breakfast meeting with reporters, Gingrich laid out an extraordinarily broad list of issues facing Obama and the United States. He also, of course, dispensed advice on dealing with each one of them, from the failure of U.S. automakers in Detroit to the rigorous physical education requirements for students in India.
The misdeeds of impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) are "simply the tip of an iceberg of systemic corruption across this country that is breathtaking," Gingrich said in an echo of the charges he's been leveling against Democrats since he first joined Congress in 1979.
The former head of Gingrich's political action committee, GOPAC, Michael Steele was chairman of the Republican National Committee during the 2010 cycle before being ousted by Reince Priebus for the 2012 elections. Gingrich issued a statement praising the pick, saying Steele, the party's first African-American chairman, "is a charismatic, energizing, conservative leader who will be a force for real change in America," and supported Steele through his myriad controversies.
Some of Gingrich's former lieutenants, such as now-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), remain in Congress.