“Big and passive.”
Those are the qualities that make former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's favorite snake the python, he said on Thursday. But they aren’t the qualities that helped Mitt Romney beat him for the GOP nomination. No, Gingrich said, to win, Romney chose to “throw the kitchen sink” at him in Florida.
“He was in a situation where everything he had ever done was going to disappear if I beat him in Florida, and so he said, ‘Look, I got two choices. I can throw the kitchen sink at Gingrich or I can be a nice guy and not be the nominee,’ ” Gingrich said on MSNBC’s Hardball.
Gingrich asserted, as he’s done before, that Romney had lied about him on the campaign trail. But he seems to have chalked it up to politics, saying, “He did what he had to do to run over me.”
The former House speaker, who won only two states in the primaries before dropping out, has endorsed Romney and appeared with him on the campaign trail before. But on Thursday, he gave a somewhat lukewarm assesment of a possible Romney presidency.
"He is a great organizer, he is a very methodical person, he is prepared to systematically do what he thinks is right for the country," Gingrich said, adding, "I think he might turn out to make a surprisingly good president."
Gingrich also touched on his picks for vice president—Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida or Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, among others—but perhaps more surprising were his picks for favorite animal. Notorious for his love of animals and frequent zoo visits while campaigning for president, Gingrich explained to host Chris Matthews why he’s so into mankind's furry and scaled friends.
“I love the natural world. I love animals—whether they're out in the wild, I love animals in zoos, I love paleontologists,” he said.
He said he enjoyed the San Diego Zoo the most, and that his favorite animal to observe is the “remarkable” elephant. And Gingrich expressed a special reverence for snakes. “They're astonishingly successful. They do it in a totally different way than we do and they've been successful for a very long time.”