On the Record
October 14, 2011
Greta Van Susteren
(Begin Video Clip)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST ON THE RECORD: Now Callista Gingrich. She’s been busy on the campaign trail with her husband, Newt Gingrich. Somehow, though she found time to write a children’s book. It’s called “Sweet Land of Liberty.” Nice to see you, Callista.
CALLISTA GINGRICH, AUTHOR SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who drew the cover?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: We have a wonderful illustrator. Her name in Susan Arciero. She did all the illustrations in the book, and together she and I developed this character, Ellis the Elephant.
VAN SUSTEREN: The first thing I think of is the Republican elephant and you don’t have a donkey in there.
CALLISTA GINGRICH: There are no donkeys, I have to say. We considered many animals, bunnies, hippos, giraffes, but in the end I couldn’t resist this adorable little elephant.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why Ellis?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: Ellis harkens back to Ellis Island as we are a nation of immigrants. Ellis is a name children would find delightful.
VAN SUSTEREN: It’s so interesting, when I was reading the book I didn’t realize until I was reading it out loud in the other room, it rhymes.
CALLISTA GINGRICH: It does.
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I didn’t realize it as I rode it in my mind but when I was reading it aloud.
CALLISTA GINGRICH: I have a new appreciation for Dr. Seuss.
VAN SUSTEREN: What provoked this?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: Well, I wrote this book because I love America and I believe our country is exceptional. And I think it’s more important now than ever that our children understand why we live in an exceptional nation. Unfortunately many of our schools are failing to teach our American history. A recent survey showed a majority of fourth graders didn’t know who Abraham Lincoln was. Many didn’t know why the pilgrims left England. Fewer than a third of all eight graders knew why the colonies fought England during the Revolutionary War.
VAN SUSTEREN: What happened? Fran Tarkenton was just on. You heard him. He’s upset. A lot of people upset with the education system. People, we’re not making the mark compared to other countries in education. What happened?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: Well, we’ve resorted to revisionist and politically correct history, unfortunately.
VAN SUSTEREN: The book is selling like hot cakes, right?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: How well is it doing?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: I’m a mid-westerner and we don’t usually brag.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do it this time though.
CALLISTA GINGRICH: We are very pleased that “Sweet Land of Liberty” is number four on the “New York Times” bestseller list for children’s picture books.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there a sequel?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: Well, we are considering one.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is a donkey going to be in that one?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: We will keep our options open.
VAN SUSTEREN: You are not excluding the chance.
CALLISTA GINGRICH: This is a patriotic book, not a Republican book, not a conservative book, it’s a pro American book. I hope it will appeal to many Americans as a celebration of our patriotic values.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you actually write it on the campaign trail?
CALLISTA GINGRICH: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you are ambidextrous, so to speak. Nice to see you, Callista.
CALLISTA GINGRICH: Thanks, Greta.