Newt Gingrich Leads a Totally Digital Lifestyle

But his staff won’t let him play Grand Theft Auto


Who Newt Gingrich

Age 70

Accomplishments Co-host on CNN’s Crossfire (weeknights at 6:30); author; co-founder of Gingrich Productions; former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Base Arlington, Va.

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?

I have a retired research director who edits world news for me across an extraordinary range of topics, and I get probably between one and two hundred emails a day from him. So I start every morning by scanning his emails.

Tell us about your social media habits.

I have Twitter and Facebook. My staff does Instagram for me—I haven’t gotten around to it. My wife [Callista] is a fanatic Instagrammer. Wherever we are, she’s taking pictures.

What’s your favorite gadget?

My No. 1 tech gadget is the iPad. I gave up my desktop computer. I have no use for it anymore. I have a laptop sitting at home, but it’s very unlikely I’ll use it. There are enough applications on the iPad that allow me to write and edit about as well as I could on a laptop.

You and Callista both have Google Glass—what do you do with them?

We use them mostly to film stuff, like at museums or the zoo. We don’t use them for the more esoteric things that Google has in mind because we’re not that clever yet. I’m not sure that it’s going to catch on since it’s a little weird, but one of our theories is that you want to constantly push yourself to try something new and different.

What’s your favorite app?

I use Duolingo and Rosetta Stone on my iPad because I’m studying Spanish and very slowly learning it. My wife has a McDonald’s app on her iPhone, so wherever we are in the world, it will tell her where the nearest McDonald’s is. We’re both McDonald’s fanatics.

Any games?

I don’t play any computer games. I almost bought Grand Theft Auto V, but my staff talked me out of it. I thought, anything that sold a billion dollars’ worth in three days, you should at least have some notion of what it was like. But some of the younger staff explained, “This is probably not you.”

Do you watch TV?

I mostly watch old movies or sports. I don’t know that I watch any current television, although my staff has been trying to get me to watch Homeland. We did watch Downton Abbey, which we are addicted to and are now waiting eagerly for the next season. And we watched House of Cards, both the American and the English versions. I thought [the American version] bore almost no relationship to Washington except in the demented mind of somebody in Hollywood, but it was well done. And Kevin Spacey is a terrific actor.

What’s on your reading list?

I just got Martin Cruz Smith’s newest novel, Tatiana, and I’m reading Max Hastings’ Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War. I do all my reading on the Kindle app on my iPad. I hardly ever read in print anymore. And you can change the font on your Kindle, so as I get older, it’s just easier to read.

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