ILLUSTRATION BY JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WRHe may not be the fitness freak that Republican Mike Huckabee is, but nobody's going to confuse Democratic Sen. Barack Obama with a couch potato. A regular gym rat, he takes pride in his slim and trim good looks. So you can imagine his shock when USA Today political scribe Kathy Kiely recently told the candidate that his bickering with foe Sen. Hillary Clinton reminded her of the quarrels between Ralph and Alice Kramden of The Honeymooners. "And I'm Ralph?" quizzed Obama, somewhat horrified to be compared to beefy Jackie Gleason's character. "It's not my body type!" Kiely says he protested. "It's just a metaphor, Senator," she assured him as campaign aide Robert Gibbs offered: "Oh no, now he's going to double his workout."
That would be some task. His campaign cochairman Sen. Dick Durbin tells us that Obama's a devotee of the Senate gym and that campaign insiders set aside an hour each day for the 46-year-old to run on the treadmill and lift free weights or even play basketball. Another reporter, Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet, has worked out beside the candidate and describes him as "studious and serious, thorough and businesslike." Wife Michelle is also a fitness fan, doing 90 minutes of cardio, weight training, and calisthenics. But, she tells us, it's "very rare" to have a joint workout with her hubby.