As Richard Simmons prances up the steps of Congress, he bypasses the assembled congressman and their aides stationed at a podium and marches straight toward the swarm of news cameras at the far end of the veranda, having just finished testifying on the Hill in his capacity as "Fitness Expert and Advocate." With a sudden, two-armed wave that could, it seems plausible, lead to a backbend, Simmons wails out "Hi everybody, how are we feeling today?" Footloose's "Let's Hear it for the Boy" begins to blare from an unseen loudspeaker. The crowd of mostly congressional interns and Hill staffers in various states of smile-plastered bemusement cheer into their cell phones, which they use to alternately take pictures and text. Richard Simmons striding through a crowd of Washington suits in a bright red tank-top-and-tiny-shorts combo made suitable for the occasion with red, white, and blue rhinestones is the sort of spectacle that merits proof.
To read TNR's account of Simmons's trip to Capitol Hill yesterday, click here.