By SANDY GRADY PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, SANDY GRADYPHLADELPHIA DAILY NEWS Aug 14, 1997 Aug 14, 1997

Today"s topic is Our Incredible Shrinking Politicians. Pound by pound, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingaffluent are disappearing in front of our eyes.

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Once they were plump lads of ample tonnage. Maybe not in the class of sumo wrestlers or NFL tackles, yet much from petite. To weigh them both, you necessary a highway truck scale.


Placed it this way: You"d be nervous riding an elevator via both Bill and also Newt aboard. You wouldn"t desire to get behind either one in a buffet line.


Ah, but fatties no more -- the prez and speaker are so trim, they can practically perdevelop as Chippendale studs in a strip bar.


No even more extra-big jumbo jeans for these two. Maybe you noticed their brand-new, svelte look as soon as they celebrated their budacquire deal in the Rose Garden. These baby boomers hadn"t simply shrunk deficit bloat. Tright here was a lot much less of Bill and Newt.


Well, 14 pounds less for Clinton, down to around 200. And 25 pounds much less for Gingwealthy, dvery own to around 220. Gone are waistlines that resembled Goodyear blimps -- or in Clinton"s case, the thunder thighs in jogging shorts that quit traffic.


Perhaps you witnessed the jaunty way Clinton bounced across the lawn for his televised news conference. His one-time tent-sized suit coat was snug, his jawline more like Clark Kent"s.


Clinton"s downloss, literally, came after his tumble on golfer Greg Norman"s actions. Docs told him an average middle-aged male would certainly stuff an added 20 pounds after knee surgery. Embarrassed that he"d balloon into a presidential variation of William "The Refrigerator" Perry, Clinton started pumping iron, swimming laps and also chowing down on fruit.


The fanaticism was visible newly as soon as Clinton quit his limo, en path to the golf course, to run sprints on the White Housage track. By the means, the prez sneaked out for golf 5 of the last 11 days. Hey, a guy"s gotta tune up for vacation. I suspect true scandal will emerge in post-presidential memoirs -- Bill"s played more golf hooky than the addicted Dwight Eisenhower.


The huge losers in Clinton"s diet-athon are David Lettermale, Jay Leno and Conan O"Brien. How will certainly late-night comics endure without gags around Clinton and Big Macs?


If they"re going belly-to-belly in this weight-loss showdvery own, Newt"s ahead. Gingwell-off had even more girth to burned from his Pillsbury Doughboy form.


"I looked at myself in January and made a New Year"s resolution and also stuck to it," bragged Gingwell-off. "At age 54, I discovered diet and exercise work-related. I desire to drop an additional 15 or 20 pounds."


Asked his trick, the once-jowly Newt told reporters, "No beer, real exercise. I"m a couch potato, a bookworm, so it"s difficult. But I set the treadmill to "press" -- it provides me run harder."


OK, nopoint startling around a couple of boomers hitting the fitness trail. But possibly this weight-loss passion by Bill and Newt have to issue us. We"re acquainted through mood swings that grip dieters in the fight of the bulge. They"re either hungrily grumpy or euphoric.


Is that what occurred in the budobtain deal? Did manic goofiness overcome ideology? Newt: "C"mon, let"s reduced the capital-gains tax and also have actually some more lo-cal yogurt." Bill: "Sounds yummy. I"ll go for the $500 son crmodify if you"ll pass the tofu."


What next? If they save dropping tonnage, will Bill and Newt obtain so giddy they shed their senses and agree on campaign-finance reform?


Nah, as well much to hope for -- they"d relapse right into Double Whoppers, shakes and substantial fries prior to endangering the mechanism.


These lean, ascetic boomers make me yearn for the era 75 or 100 years back once politicians were proud of plush stomachs that popped their vest butloads. Times seemed safe and also secure when we had fat poccupants. Tell me America wasn"t content (1909-13) once William Taft, the Ohio Gargantua, was in the White House. Taft tipped the scales at 320, many thanks to a diet of 22-ounce Porterhouses swimming in gravy. Runner-up was Grover Cleveland (1885-89 and also 1893-97), a pleasingly portly 260-pounder. You can look it up: No fat president ever went to war.


Oh, well, let vanishing Bill and also Newt grow on lettuce and goat"s cheese and also sweat till they"re skinny as GQ models. One point will not change: No diet will certainly ever before mitigate the political ego.

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"This was avoidable. That"s the worst component about it, and more than likely the many frustrating," shelp the boy of the significant company executive.