January 31, 2012
Newt Almost Kills a Hog

From Gail Sheehy’s 1995 profile in Vanity Fair comes all you need to know about Newt — semi-smart but with nutty ideas, poor follow-through, and a mess left for somebody else to clean up.

Surprisingly, the boy in the bottle-thick glasses with a plaid shirt and plastic pocket protector was only a runner-up as a National Merit Scholar. He did make the debate team, but, according to his stepfather, Bob Gingrich, “he wasn’t an A student … He wasn’t the class pride.” His mother Kit claims that Newt’s I.Q measured in the 120s…

“He always tried to be one of the boys,” says Kip Carter. “He never quite was.” To illustrate the point, Carter tells a down-home kind of story from the 1970s. Newt and Carter, who was then his campaign treasurer, used to barbecue hogs in the Gingriches’ driveway in Carrollton, Georgia. They would go to a friend’s farm and pick out a hog and shoot it.

“One day, Newt says to me, ‘I need to be the one to kill the hog. It’s only right, just morally.’”

Carter showed Newt how to use a Walther P-38, a W.W. II German pistol. “I said, ‘Put some corn in your left hand. When the pig comes over to get it, put the pistol against his head and shoot him between his eyes.’”

“So the pig comes over and he starts eating,” says Carter. “Newt flinches as the round hits the pig on the side of the head and ricochets down.” But the shot only stunned the hog and sent it fleeing back into the pen. “Newt keeps trying to get this pig to come back to him. Newt’s getting madder and madder. I said to him, ‘You just shot the son of a bitch in the head, Newt, why do you think he’s gonna come to you?’

Carter recalls urging his comrade-in-arms, “‘You gotta get in there, in the hogpen, and go get him.’ But Newt wouldn’t do it. So I ended up going in the pen and killing the hog.”



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at January 31, 2012 03:42 PM
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Sounds to me like they were quite a ways from a real Southern farm of those days. When I was in the second or third grade in South Carolina we were eating lunch one day and this kid sitting next to me was telling me why he wasn't eating his pork.

Seems that on the farm he lived on they killed the hog the real old fashioned way. He proceeded to tell me his grandaddy and daddy were showing him how to kill the hog for the first time the weekend before. It was squealing and carrying on while they finished the job and I remember him going into great detail about it but I don't remember them. As I look back on it, he was quite traumatized by it and I don't think I've thought of that too many times since then.

Of course, at that time we were all Democrats in the South. Nobody was going to waste a good bullet if they didn't have to. What he described to me wasn't shooting the hog. They just cut it's throat.

Posted by: Buck on January 31, 2012 6:19 PM

I have to admit I know a little something about the business of hog killing having been around hog raising as a child and adult. The most efficient dispatching of animals being prepared for human consumption was in the Middle East during the dedication (informal I might add, but everyone knew what was going on except us foreigners) of a newly constructed power station. Now their preparation of animals for human consumption incorporates some religious dictates such as saying some sort of prayer over the animal, cutting its throat, etc. I can honestly say I've never seen it done more efficiently or with less stress to the animal. The cow never knew what happened and just slumped to the ground.

Posted by: knowdoubt on February 1, 2012 1:33 PM

Shoot you in the head, then expect you to come back for more if asked nicely? Basic characteristic of an abuser.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on February 1, 2012 2:46 PM

knowdoubt, I don't remember all of what he told me or even what he looked like, but I do remember enough to remember that he was telling me about the pig squealing loud and long, and that was what I think had the most impression on him. Enough that he was pronouncing to me that he wasn't ever going to eat any meat from a pig again. Funny how I remember that and can't remember a single other conversation that I had in that lunch room from first through fourth grade. On the other hand I remember a fellow telling me as an adult that he knew someone who had gotten drunk in a hog pen and woke up and the pigs had eaten his face, ears and all off. Nasty things those pigs.

Posted by: Buck on February 1, 2012 8:25 PM

Well, at this point in my life I prefer vegetables, but still eat some meat. I prefer that any meat I eat come from One (1) animal so I stay away from ground unless I do it myself or from someone I know, personally.

Posted by: knowdoubt on February 2, 2012 5:33 AM
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