Maybe Newt Gingrich wanted to visit one more zoo before it all ended.

There’s no other obvious explanation for why the former House speaker said Wednesday that he would wait one more week until suspending his presidential campaign.

Gingrich had been a front-runner shortly before the Iowa caucuses (a feat that won him the Fix’s “good year” award for 2011), but his chances of being president fizzled long ago. He hasn’t won a primary or caucus since March 6, when he claimed his home state of Georgia. (Aside from the Peach State, Gingrich won only one other contest — the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.) In fact, of the 36 states that have voted in the GOP nomination fight, Gingrich has finished fourth in 17 of them.

What has he been doing for the past few months, then? Embarking on a freewheeling cross-country trip — a schedule heavy on zoos and light on the sort of activities that, you know, help you win primaries — all while enjoying the taxpayer-funded luxury of Secret Service protection.

Until the end, Gingrich seemed to be a man divided. He knew he had no chance to overtake former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and become the Republican presidential nominee. But his ego seemed unwilling to submit. “Governor Romney is clearly the front-runner,” Gingrich said Monday, 24 hours before Romney swept five primary states, including Pennsylvania. “That doesn’t mean he’s inevitable.”

Um, yes, it does.

Newt Gingrich, for trying to become a permanent resident of the 2012 zoo, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

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