Newt nipped by zoo penguin, gets Band-Aid

ST. LOUIS Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:12am IST

U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich speaks at the Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum during the National Rifle Association's (NRA) 141st Annual Meetings & Exhibits in St. Louis, Missouri April 13, 2012. REUTERS/Tom Gannam

U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich speaks at the Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum during the National Rifle Association's (NRA) 141st Annual Meetings & Exhibits in St. Louis, Missouri April 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tom Gannam

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ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Things have not been going all that well for Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich lately, even at one of his favorite places - the zoo.

Newt was nipped on the finger by a penguin during a private tour of the famous St. Louis zoo on Friday before he spoke to the National Rifle Association convention, zoo officials confirmed on Monday.

Gingrich, who is trailing in the Republican race for the White House and is under pressure to withdraw, passed unscathed through Big Cat Country and avoided contact with the crocodiles in the Herpetarium. But his visit took a turn when a Magellanic penguin pecked at the candidate's hand.

"He was nipped on the finger by a penguin," zoo public relations director Susan Gallagher said. "A Band-Aid took care of the injury."

Gingrich vowed he would not shun zoos. "Newt is a zoo fan. He will be back," spokesman R. C. Hammond said.

The zoo allows people on private tours to get "up close and personal" with the birds.

Gingrich has made a habit of visiting zoos while running for president and wrote the forward for "America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families."

(Editing by Greg McCune and Cynthia Osterman)

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