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

Richard Simmons - Congressman?

Could the health guru head for Capitol Hill?

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."

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. time for change

    Obama/Simmons '08 and Forever!!

    July 24, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Voter

    Why not? Now that the Dems have lowered the bar by selecting Obama, anything goes.

    July 24, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. DG

    Oh fer cryin' out loud...(1) who in his/her right mind would take this seriously, and (2) why is this is even in the news?

    July 24, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. manubi

    Maybe he will require his staff and people he represented to purchase his exercise video tapes. Hey, a way to "BOOST" the economy.

    July 24, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. CollegeRepub@UA

    If the Democrats want him as their candidate, they can have him. The real question, though, does America want him?

    This is almost as funny as Obama's attempt to make "hope" a public policy!

    July 24, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Snow

    If this clown runs for office and wins I am moving to Siberia.... Do they have the NFL package up there?

    July 24, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. H C

    Oh, that would be LEGENDARY.

    July 24, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. Adrian Veidt

    Say what you will... but obesity *is* a problem that needs to be addressed. I'm not sure Congressman Simmons is the way to go, but the issue is a huge strain on our medical system (and will continue to be whether medical care remains as is or becomes universal).

    July 24, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Sue

    I really think it's time he ditched the bushy 'fro and tank tops, it's not the 80s anymore...

    July 24, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. JIM WHITTAKER, Hemet, CA

    This is a joke, right?


    July 24, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. art-the-dart

    You people need to get lives. This is such a non-story. Funny, though.

    July 24, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. ARB

    I'd rather see him become president than Obama......SERIOUSLY!!!!

    July 24, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Snow

    Oh, and for all you quacks that said you would vote for him and you actually think he would motivate kids to get off the couch, when was he ever skinny? If he is a symbolism of working out and eating healthy, I would rather eat devil dogs and play video games.

    July 24, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Joe the Troll

    Just IMAGINE how this guy could filibuster.

    July 24, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. kat

    Why not? We've had lots of tv/movie stars in office. Just because he's a little goofy doesn't mean he can't do the job as long as he's not wearing those running shorts and tank tops who cares? He's certainly proven over the years he can be a motivator...

    July 24, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. Upon Further Review,Texas

    At least he is believable.95 % of Congess cant be trusted.

    July 24, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. ERD in NC

    I'm not even a big fan of Obama but I still think Richard Simmons is less nutty than McCain!

    July 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. Nick

    Ventura fell flat on his face as governor of MINN. Bad example simons. Child obesity is the least of our worries.

    July 24, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  19. GIFTY

    Go man

    July 24, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  20. Ed Ward

    Great news!

    A Log Cabin republican may have a chance to "make it big".

    July 24, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. Chuk from CA

    What's the big deal if he runs for Congress? At least he's not afraid to show his true colors...all of them...over and over.

    And think about this for a moment, if ol' Billy S. gets elected he would be the only one in Congress without any hidden cross-dressing, homosexual, whacky-idea surprises – he's drama-free! Hell yeah I'd vote for him! At least I'll be able to watch CSPAN and burn fat laughing...not that I don't laugh at those clowns already...

    July 24, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. Rickymo

    He could do a better job than Bush ever could!

    July 24, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  23. janice

    What qualifications do most of our elected officials have – oh, yeah, money to back them. It would be great to finally have someone with common sense in DC in any position.

    July 24, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. Jill

    At least Richard is directing attention to American citizens health. We are an obese country whose children sit at TV's , computers, and hand held devices all day long. As adults we feed our kids junk food from fast food joints and eat junk ourselves. It is time for us to reevaluate our life and health style. I think he is a great motivator and if he alerts people to health issues it's a great thing.

    July 24, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Robert in Toronto, ON

    Hahahahahaha *wipes tear away*

    Awww CNN...that's a good one.

    July 24, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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