Under the Dome

Newt and Callista to pay homage to Billy Graham and Richard Petty -- and of course visit the zoo

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich plans a heavy campaign schedule in North Carolina this week, puncturing talk that he was suspending his campaign here.

Gingrich, accompanied by his wife Callista for the first time here, plans to hit the Republican-rich Piedmont area of the state this week, as he campaigns for the May 8 primary. They are paying homage to several iconic Tar Heel figures -- Billy Graham and Richard Petty.  And as a big fan of zoos, Gingrich has also set a aside two hours to visit the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro.

The schedule suggests that Gingrich is doubling down on North Carolina after five GOP primaries are held on Tuesday.

Gingrich and his wife Callista will tour the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Gingrich will speak at a Gaston County GOP breakfast at Georgio's at Cramerton(8 a.m.), visit Lincoln Charter School in Denver(9:45), have lunch at The Cherokee Street Tavern hosted by the Kings Mountain GOP,(11:45) visit the Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy(1:30), throw out the first pitch at the Gardner Webb University baseball game((2:45).

The same day, Callista will visit the Billingsville Elementary School in Charlotte(8:30 a.m.), speak at a reception hosted by the Mecklenburg County Republican Women(10 a.m.), speak at a lunch hosted by East Lincoln Republican Women and state Rep. Jason Saine,

On Thursday, Gingrich will speak at a Catawba County Republican Party breakfast in Conover(8a.m.), tour Penske Racing in Mooresville,(10) attend an Iredell County Republican Party lunch in Mooresville (12), attend a reception with Callista hosted by the Surry,  Wilkes and Yadkin County GOP in Elkin(3) and attend a reception with Callista hosted by the Alamance County GOP(6).

Callista will also speak to the Wake Forest University College Republicans. in Winston-Salem.

On Friday, Gingrich will visit the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro(9), speak to a Rotary Club(12), and with Callista tour the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman(1:30).

Gingrich is scheduled to speak to the Fayetteville GOP at 4 p.m, at Cumberland County GOP headquarters. Callista and Newt will then attend the Fayetteville Azalea Festival. 

1335192140 Newt and Callista to pay homage to Billy Graham and Richard Petty -- and of course visit the zoo The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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