THR and Google Party: Chris Matthews on Newt Gingrich's 'Absurd' Zoo Obsession (Video)

The MSNBC host chided the former House Speaker's unorthodox presidential campaign during a chat with THR.

He is at the center of cable TV's 24-hour news cycle, boasting the rare combination of endless depths of historical insight and a seemingly indefatigable stamina to preside over nightly broadcast marathons. And yet, Chris Matthews, who worked for Jimmy Carter and has covered politics since, still maintained his uniquely boyish enthusiasm for the glamor and inanities of Washington DC's campaigns and parties.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at THR and Google's Pre-White House Correspondents Association Dinner Party, Matthews excitedly pulled out the camera he had brought to snap photos of celebrities, and spoke about some of the oddities that have already filled the 2012 election process.

PHOTOS: THR and Google's Pre-White House Correspondents Association Dinner Party in Washington DC.

When asked what has been the strangest thing that he's had to cover this campaign, his answer came without hesitation: Newt Gingrich.

"It's an absurdity," he said about the former House Speaker's run for the Republican nomination for president. "He goes to zoos every week. He's gone to like 50 zoos in his campaign. You explain that to history. Here's a guy who campaigns at zoos. Why?"

As for the candidates who are campaigning in places other than animal enclosures, Matthews predicts a close race for President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

"46-46, 46-46, 4-6 from here to October," he said, predicting polling numbers. "92 percent of the country has made up its mind, and they're not even going to focus on it until October."

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