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Newt Gingrich, 'Dancing Queen'

May 19, 2011|By Maeve Reston
(Jeff Baenan, AP )

Reporting from Ames, Iowa — It was midway through Newt Gingrich's speech in Ames Thursday when a cellphone went off. As the soaring chorus of ABBA's "Dancing Queen" reverberated through the Olde Main Brewery everyone looked around for the culprit. This time it was the candidate.

After sheepishly shutting off the ringer and slipping the phone back into his pocket, Gingrich muttered something about forgetting to turn off his ringer and continued with his remarks.

Later the former House speaker confessed to reporters that he was a huge fan of the movie "Mamma Mia" and a staff member had programmed the ABBA anthem into his phone.

"My wife warned me this would happen," he said. He added that "Mamma Mia" was "an amazing film."

"It's just fun," he said after praising the work of Meryl Streep and her co-stars. "When they do 'Dancing Queen' in the movie, I just think it's a great sequence. I love that sequence -- the energy and the excitement."

"Dancing Queen," Gingrich said, is his standard ringtone. But to add "a little mystique" he said his wife's ringtone is another ABBA song.

"I'll let you guess," he said with a grin. "I'm not telling."

Gingrich isn't the only Republican with an affinity for the Swedish group. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, used to play "Take A Chance On Me" at his campaign rallies.

But given his latest travails, perhaps this is a more fitting tune for the moment. maeve.reston@latimes.com

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