July 24th, 2008
09:35 AM ET
14 years ago

Richard Simmons - Congressman?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.simmons.gi.jpg caption="Could the health guru head for Capitol Hill?"] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Fitness star and effervescence extreme Richard Simmons is on Capitol Hill today, tackling the issue of childhood obesity and pushing for increased school exercise programs. But as he testifies before the House Education and Labor Committee, the 60-year-old is nodding toward that celebrity siren song: political office.

In a half-serious, half-jocular tone, Simmons described his approach to the hearing, saying, "I want to have the respect of a congressman, I want to talk like a congressman, and maybe, someday, I'll be a congressman."

During three minutes of follow-up questions, Simmons displayed an almost Washingtonian flare for avoiding a direct position. "However I can be of use," he said, "If my country wants me, I'll be there for my country."

So has no plans to run?

"Well," he answered coyly, "I don't know. I may run for office. You never know."

Listen: Simmons speaks with CNN Radio about his political ambitions

True to his cause, Simmons seemed most interested in possible health-related jobs in a new administration. "(The new president) is going to have to look at the statistics of what's happening to our kids," Simmons told CNN Radio, "And then he's going to say who can we turn to? And it certainly isn't the Ghostbusters."

The fitness king cited former wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura as an example of the famous turned politician. He's not ruling it out.

"After this congressional hearing, I will go home," Simmons said, "I will talk with my Dalmatian dogs, I will pray to God and then I'll see what else I can do to help."

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soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. James H. Cooke

    C-mack estimates 260 million people in the U.S. Try 300 million. Obese children and ignorant adults. Why is it that people outside the U.S. know more about the U.S. than Americans. What's scary isn't people like Simmons running for office, it's people like C-Mack getting to vote.

    July 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. Biffington, Biff

    maybe he and larry craig can meet in the men's room and scope pages together...

    MUST be running onthe GOP ticket...

    July 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. JeffRob

    Please tell me the man testified before Congress in a sequin-emblazoned pink lycra jumpsuit.

    July 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. J.C.

    Don't you think a qualified exam to anybody that wants to run for a public office is necessary?

    July 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    RIchard Simmons.....Fitness Instructor turned politican.....a possibility.......Al Frankteon.....comedian turned politican--another possibility........Both might add some decoure to Congress. It surely can't get any worse than it is now.....

    July 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. 17 year old future politician

    Obama/Sebelius 08'

    July 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. fairandstraight

    Richard as a congressman would leave many speechless.

    July 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Rafael Richmond VA

    Join the GOP!!!!

    July 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. Susan

    Your headline is dull! Come on. It's Richard Simmons. How about something like: Fit for office?

    July 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Steve

    Hey, McCain is looking for someone younger and more dynamic than himself. Has he thought of tapping Simmons for VP? If he did, I might actually vote for McCain, just for the entertainment value. And Simmons could keep his tag line, "Sweatin' With the Oldies". Oh, the possibilities!

    July 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. Sally

    I can all the people in congress "Dancing to the Oldies" now.

    July 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Katerina Ivanovna

    Some of the latest news here in the Political Ticker are quite disappointing and show a shift in CNN to a more "tabloidish" way of reporting.

    July 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Jim in PA

    "I want to have the respect of a congressman"?!? Who the hell gives respect to congressmen? That's like saying "I want to have the smarts of Paris Hilton."

    July 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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