Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 28, 2014

Did Michelle Obama Snub Richard Simmons?

Richard Simmons has a dream: to team up with first lady Michelle Obama and lead exercises on the White House lawn. But for now, that dream remains unrequited.

Simmons said in a pair of interviews with CQ Roll Call that the White House has rejected his overtures to help with the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” childhood anti-obesity initiative.

“I’ve tried to reach my hand out to President Obama and the first lady,” he said. “They have rejected me.”

“I was with childhood obesity long before any of them,” he added.

A number of emissaries, including House and Senate members, offered to connect Simmons with the White House, he said, with no success.

“I guess they think I’m too silly or they think I’m not their kind of person,” he said.

At the same time, he acknowledged that the presidency is a “hard job.” He offered specific praise for the president’s “absolutely amazing” efforts to turn around the economy. He is likewise impressed with the first lady’s White House garden.

“It’s just amazing,” he said. “Look at how many children the first lady has touched with the garden.”

As for his dream, he envisions an event on the White House lawn with an orchestra.

“The White House lawn only fits so many and when you think of the millions and millions who are overweight, it just takes takes your breath away,” he said. He went on to suggest that the event could be taped and posted on YouTube.

“So then everyone can do the exercises,” he said.

For now, Simmons continues his crusade against obesity with his workout studio, videos and motivational television appearances.

“You know, everyone can’t like you. I found that out in my life,” he said. “Everybody can’t like you or appreciate you. So you really have to focus on the ones who do.”

“We all feel hurt when we get rejected,” he added.

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