GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich eulogized Tony Blankley, a journalist and former Gingrich press secretary, in a Washington Times op-ed on Friday. Blankley served as a Washington Times editorial page editor from 2002 to 2007. He died on Jan. 7 at age 63.
“Tony Blankley was a remarkable man,” Gingrich wrote. "He combined intellect, passion for freedom and passion for life into a wonderful personality that attracted virtually everyone privileged to work with him or know him."
Blankley looked to Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan for inspiration, Gingrich said, and drew strength from spending time from his family.
“I always thought his pet llamas were a key part of his ability to bounce back,” Gingrich wrote. “There was something slightly absurd about the speaker’s press secretary having pet llamas. It was just the touch of uniqueness and frivolity that made him such a complete person.”