Newt and Callista Gingrich Draw Crowd at Book Signing
The News & Advance
October 20, 2012
A line of people extended out the door of the Liberty University Bookstore Saturday as hundreds waited to have their books signed by Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and his wife, Callista.
“This is definitely one of the biggest events,” said Brian Digia, trade manager at the LU bookstore. “We’ve been planning this for a while.”
The couple arrived shortly after noon for the signing, but that did not stop some attendees from getting to the bookstore when it opened at 9 a.m.
Chad Pepin, a senior government major at LU, waited eagerly at the front of the line with three of Newt Gingrich’s books. Pepin said he supported Gingrich as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination this year, particularly for his advocacy of natural gas as an energy source.
“That was definitely something he had going for him,” Pepin said.
Along with serving as a U.S. representative for 20 years, Gingrich has published 27 books on topics including fiction, politics and history.
“I like his passion for history,” Pepin said. “He’s very knowledgeable.”
Saturday’s event began with Callista Gingrich reading her latest book, “Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride,” to a group of children sitting on the floor.
The book tells the story of Ellis the Elephant as he discovers America’s 13 colonies. Callista Gingrich’s previous book, “Sweet Land of Liberty,” was on the New York Times Best Seller List of children’s picture books for three weeks in 2011.
After her reading, many children waited in line to have their books signed by Callista Gingrich or to pose for a picture with Ellis the Elephant.
“We’re thrilled. There was such a wonderful turnout,” Callista Gingrich said of Saturday’s event. “People are so warm and welcoming.”
Many of the attendees wore LU T-shirts and welcomed the Gingrichs back to the familiar campus.
“I think I first met Dr. (Jerry) Falwell in 1979. At that time, Liberty was beginning to grow,” Newt Gingrich said. “I was just very impressed with how consistently it grew.”
In 2007, Newt Gingrich gave the LU commencement address. Since then, he has taken on a role as a teacher.
“I’m teaching one course now on American exceptionalism online,” Newt Gingrich said. “The students seem to really like it.”
American exceptionalism is the idea that America is unique in its mission to spread liberty across the globe. It is also the subject of Newt Gingrich’s 2011 book, “A Nation Like No Other.”
After signing thousands of books, Newt Gingrich said he hoped to make his first visit to Thomas Jefferson’s home at Poplar Forest.