News & Politics

An Oscar for Newt?

What do Newt Gingrich and Al Gore have in common? Both seem to be enjoying the speculation that they might enter the 2008 presidential race, but the former House speaker now appears to be taking a page from the man who made wonkish documentaries hip.

Gingrich and his wife, Callista, will appear in a documentary based on his recent book, Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation’s History and Future. A spokeswoman says the documentary “tours the presidential memorial sites of Washington, DC, while exploring the debate about the religiosity of the Founding Fathers.”

That may sound a little bookish, but so did “ice-core carbon-dioxide temperature correlations,” and that helped last year’s An Inconvenient Truth earn two Oscars and $24 million just at US theaters—not to mention sales of the DVD and companion book.

Gingrich isn’t likely to get a similar payoff; the documentary, which began filming in August, will go straight to DVD. It will serve as a companion piece to the book and audio versions. Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler says the documentary, due out by Christmas, can be used as a Washington tour book with a Christian perspective.

“You can see what the Founders said and thought and wrote about God—and it’s there in marble, steel, stone, and parchment,” Tyler says.

Yes, but Gore had polar bears.

This piece originally appeared in the September 2007 edition of the magazine.