Is Christie’s weight a problem? Unfortunately, it probably is

It’s an uncomfortable question, which means that it’s right in Barbara Walters’ wheelhouse. As she put it to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:

For those who can’t watch video, here’s how the exchange goes:

WALTERS: “There are people who say that you couldn’t be president because you are so heavy. What do you say to that?”

CHRISTIE: “It’s ridiculous. I mean, that’s ridiculous. I think people have watched me for a number of weeks in Hurricane Sandy doing 18-hour days, so I don’t really think that would be a problem.”

I’m not so sure that’s true. As Christie acknowledged to Walters, he isn’t merely overweight, he’s seriously overweight. That struck home during last night’s broadcast of the Hurricane Sandy charity concert in New York, which Christie attended. When the camera panned to Christie, standing in a crowd surrounded by other people, the size differential between the governor and those around him was startling.

Some have raised the question of whether Christie’s weight reflects a character flaw or lack of personal discipline, but I’m with the governor on that one: “It’s ridiculous.” That alleged “lack of discipline” doesn’t show up in other aspects of his life, and as Christie aptly noted, it doesn’t affect his work ethic.

christie-obama-odd-couple

It does, however, raise significant health issues. If you look at how George W. Bush visibly aged over his eight-year presidency, and how Barack Obama has aged, the toll taken by the job and the campaigning becomes pretty clear. And unlike Christie, both Bush and Obama are pretty serious about staying in good physical shape. It’s perfectly legitimate, even necessary, to consider health when electing a president, and although Christie has never revealed his actual weight, it’s pretty clear that he would fall in the far right category in the chart below:

MenBMIMort

There’s also the image issue. Rationally speaking, you cannot judge a person’s character or intelligence by his or her weight or physical attractiveness, but the truth is that we do it all the time, without even thinking about it.

As researchers Lucy Watson and Lucy Johnston write in summarizing scientific studies into the question:

“Attractive people are perceived to be happier, more sociable and more successful than unattractive individuals. Attractive, as compared to unattractive, individuals are judged more highly on academic tasks, are treated more generously when grades are assigned and receive more support. Furthermore, physical attractiveness has been found to affect juror decisions, helping behavior, parents’ attitudes toward their own infants, psychological well-being of adults, status cues, social and professional competence evaluations, level of prestige of a given occupation and employment and job evaluations.”

Given that psychological reality, it’s no surprise that voters tend to gravitate to candidates who look presidential. And in his present physical condition, that is not a test that Christie passes.

– Jay Bookman

612 comments Add your comment

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

December 13th, 2012
12:12 pm

“As Christie acknowledged to Walters, he isn’t merely overweight, he’s seriously overweight.”

the word you’re looking for is “obese”

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

December 13th, 2012
12:15 pm

I’m sure he’s a great guy, but I wouldn’t vote for him (regardless of party affiliation) because of his weight – I really don’t think he’d survive the 4 years of stress that comes with the gig

Reebok

December 13th, 2012
12:20 pm

From a character or discipline standpoint, it’s not for me to say. Only he and those closest to him can speak to that. But from a health & mortality issue, it’s a very big deal. No pun intended.

Georgia

December 13th, 2012
12:21 pm

Hillary 2016: cause fat and stupid is no way to go through four years.

JamVet

December 13th, 2012
12:21 pm

The man needs a fitness trainer. Otherwise, he is probably going to die young.

I read once that there are no fat people; just unfit people.

We have an epidemic of obesity in this country that is inexcusable.

My solution? Make PE mandatory up until grade 12.

Run ‘em til they puke…

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:23 pm

If he stood next to jindal, they look like Laurel and Hardy.

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

December 13th, 2012
12:25 pm

“We have an epidemic of obesity in this country that is inexcusable.”

seriously – leave the country for a few months and you REALLY notice a difference when you land at the airport. The numbers of obese are eye-watering.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

December 13th, 2012
12:26 pm

Obesity is akin to the disease of addiction and heredity. It has zero to do with self control.

34% of those over 20 are obese in this country…that particular voting pool could actually have enough votes to win….just saying..

Sad…I hope he takes advantage of the modern tools including bariatrics to get healthy..

Goldie

December 13th, 2012
12:28 pm

Gov. Christie should take some advice from President Clinton who is now eating a vegan diet… and he looks so much better for it these days! :)

Aquagirl

December 13th, 2012
12:28 pm

Being in shape helps you handle difficult tasks when you’re tired or stressed. As much as I like Gov. Christie I wouldn’t trust a very obese man with our security.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 13th, 2012
12:29 pm

Obesity is not always caused by a “lack of willpower”. We need to stop unfairly blaming people for being overweight.

That said, I don’t think Christie’s weight should be an obstacle. But it does make his selection of VP a great concern. Selecting a Palin would be very detrimental as it was for McCain for a variety of reasons, including his age.

Mick

December 13th, 2012
12:30 pm

Without a doubt, the stress of the job plus him aging at the same time is a serious health risk. He doesn’t need it…

fedup

December 13th, 2012
12:31 pm

I give rat’s a$$ about his weight. On the other hand he talks like a bully. But in the daily show he could not bully Stewart who would have cut him pieces if he tried those tactics.

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
12:32 pm

I can see it now. “If you tell us the security codes for the nuclear missiles, we’ll give you all the hamburgers you can eat.”

Class of '98

December 13th, 2012
12:32 pm

His weight is secondary. The fact that he is caucasian and a man will turn off a lot of liberals who may consider voting for him, unfortunately.

Because as all liberals know, and as the media reminds us every day, all white men are evil, greedy liars. Only women and/or people of color are trustworthy. Like Elizabeth Warren.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

December 13th, 2012
12:33 pm

Georgia

December 13th, 2012
12:21 pm

Have you seen the size of her jowl’s and the expansion taken place over the last 4 years? She probably falls on the cusp between overweight and obese….

I wouldn’t refer to her as dumb tho..

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:33 pm

class,

Racist much?

td

December 13th, 2012
12:34 pm

JamVet

December 13th, 2012
12:21 pm

“My solution? Make PE mandatory up until grade 12. ”

I will have to rethink this Mayan calender thing because if you and I agree on an issue it can only mean the world is going to end soon.

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

December 13th, 2012
12:34 pm

“President Clinton who is now eating a vegan diet”

vegan???

vegetarian is one thing … but vegan is a bridge too far.

JamVet

December 13th, 2012
12:35 pm

98, your martyr act is hysterical…

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

December 13th, 2012
12:35 pm

“The fact that he is caucasian and a man will turn off a lot of liberals who may consider voting for him, unfortunately.”

right, because that was REALLY an impediment to Carter and Clinton.

numpty.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 13th, 2012
12:36 pm

Because as all liberals know, and as the media reminds us every day, all white men are evil, greedy liars

How absurd. Bernie Sanders is great! :lol:

Matti

December 13th, 2012
12:37 pm

The man ditches a few pounds, and he’s H-O-T, HOT! He doesn’t need to get vegan-skinny, IMO. But yeah, if he wants to be taken seriously for a serious job like POTUS, he needs to shed 150 at least. The level of difficulty of that task alone would earn him serious respect from a good many voters.

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
12:38 pm

Baba Wawa asks the tough questions.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

December 13th, 2012
12:38 pm

fedup

December 13th, 2012
12:31 pm

How do you know how Stewart would fare? “oh I don’t like him and I bet a comedian could kick his butt..”

What do you really know about Christie other than he’s doing a great job in one of the most difficult states…

East Lake Ira

December 13th, 2012
12:38 pm

More importantly, if he’s going to run for national office his wife needs some serious waxing of the eyebrows.

Yeeesh.

http://www.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Christiefirst-lady.jpg

MANGLER

December 13th, 2012
12:39 pm

Someone elsewhere raised the point that we’ve had obese leaders before. That was before the age of TV and the digital proliferation of images online. The old adage “America does not elect a man in a wheel chair” also applies to other physical conditions, including being obese. As much as a persons color has little to do with their character, their size doesn’t either. However, we all know how we all think and see people. I look at Christie and the first thing I see and think is “man he’s fat”, and most people have the same reaction. That does him a serious discredit.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:40 pm

It is not his weight, it is his ideology.

The mindless trickle down governing for the wealthy only days are history.

Our President changed the focus to the middle class.

Common Sense isn't very Common

December 13th, 2012
12:40 pm

Christie/Cheney

The heart attack and the heartless 2016

:-)

Aquagirl

December 13th, 2012
12:41 pm

Baba Wawa asks the tough questions.

Man, I miss Gilda Radner.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

December 13th, 2012
12:41 pm

CLINTON…vegan? Wow…so no more McDonalds for real?

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:42 pm

“Baba Wawa asks the tough questions.”

Just questions corporate media failed to ask.

briley parkway

December 13th, 2012
12:42 pm

Obama is a smoker, Clinton was a lard-a$$, and Cheney (I know…he was VPOTUS not POTUS) had serious heart problems. Not sure how Christie being overweight is any different. Just the media stirrin’ the puddin’ cause that’s what they do.

godless heathen - fiscal cliff dweller

December 13th, 2012
12:43 pm

And the libbies begin the attack on the next potential GOP candidate only 47 months before the next election.

td

December 13th, 2012
12:43 pm

MANGLER

December 13th, 2012
12:39 pm

True. The big question is if the media shows the wheelchair. If the media would have shown all the times they caught Obama smoking then he would not have won re election.

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
12:43 pm

Aquagirl – If Gilda was still around, she’d say, “Governor Christie, you gotta get out of New Jersey.”

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:44 pm

President Clinton’s daughter got the President to change his diet for her wedding.

moonbat betty

December 13th, 2012
12:45 pm

He’s not fat. He’s just fluffy.

No worse than being a 20+ year smoker.

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
12:47 pm

I bet he’s really upset about the Hostess bankruptcy.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:48 pm

Let’s stop discriminating against fat people and smokers to keep freedom alive.

Some folks do not want to live 90 years.

DownInAlbany

December 13th, 2012
12:48 pm

But, I don’t guess you have any problem with Obama’s smoking habit? Or the fact that he admittedly used cocaine and smoke pot earlier in life?

Dang, must be a slow news day…first a rehash of the failed Romney campaign and now a diatribe on an overweight govenor (who happens to be a probable prez candidate in ‘16…coincidence? Bash ‘em early and often!)

Aquagirl

December 13th, 2012
12:49 pm

Nunna..what are ya tryin’ to do, make us sick? :)

larry

December 13th, 2012
12:49 pm

No worse than being a 20+ year smoker.

Who quit over 2 years ago.

guy

December 13th, 2012
12:49 pm

There are some vicious and cruel people commenting on these articles. Jay, you are a spoon man,always stirring up some do do. You should be ashamed but you won’t be. To all you folks,your day will come!

Common Sense isn't very Common

December 13th, 2012
12:49 pm

You guys hold down the fort. I have to go produce some more for the 1%ers.

:-)

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:49 pm

Belushi did not think women are funny until Gilda changed his mind.

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
12:50 pm

Aquagirl – Just a futile effort at humor.

xxx

December 13th, 2012
12:50 pm

So now physical traits are fair game?
Is clinton too female?
Is Jinal too brown?
Is Christie too fat?
Is rice too gay?
Is powell to white?
Is aaa too bbb?
Yes,this will encourge the best and brightest to run.
Stick with this line of thought. Sheesh.

Darwin

December 13th, 2012
12:50 pm

No doubt this guy would carry the Dixie South!

Georgia

December 13th, 2012
12:50 pm

I would drive to New York city from Atlanta for the pizza alone. Throw in the hot pastrami on rye, and I’m packing the car. Nobody can live near New York city and not get totally fat. Christie is the right man in the right place.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:50 pm

guy,

Are you fat?

larry

December 13th, 2012
12:52 pm

Having quit smoking myself as well as having been obese, its not easy to quit smoking as it is to lose weight.

When i quit smoking i gained weight , it took a big change in diet and exercising at least five times a day to lose the weight.

So i feel for him and the President. Both are hard to do.

moonbat betty

December 13th, 2012
12:53 pm

“Who quit over 2 years ago”

Well, he only smokes when he drinks now…

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
12:54 pm

larry – exercise five times a day? Wow, you have more self discipline than I do.

larry

December 13th, 2012
12:54 pm

Woops!! That should be five times a week, not a day. I dont have time to exercise five times a day.

That Black Guy

December 13th, 2012
12:57 pm

Goldie

December 13th, 2012
12:28 pm
Gov. Christie should take some advice from President Clinton who is now eating a vegan diet… and he looks so much better for it these days!
__________________________________________________
If cows, pigs, and chickens aren’t meant to be eaten, why are they made out of food?

Simple Truths

December 13th, 2012
12:57 pm

On a slow news day, Jay pulls out the “he’s too fat” card. Classy, Jay. Real classy.

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
12:57 pm

Oh. OK I don’t feel as lazy now.

guy

December 13th, 2012
12:57 pm

getalife I am not fat,not one bit! Do you have nosey problems?

Li'l Aynie

December 13th, 2012
12:58 pm

His weight and his arrogance are off-putting to many voters. Also, many Americans find his regional dialect grating. Americans are accustomed to a midwestern or southern dalect. Kennedy is the last President with a northeastern dialect.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
12:59 pm

guy,

Yes, I do.

I like too get to know the cons and get inside their heads.

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
1:01 pm

“Do you have nosey problems?” Do sinus problems count?

CJ

December 13th, 2012
1:02 pm

On this subject…

“In the U.S. population, about 14.5 percent of all men are six feet or over. Among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, that number is 58 percent. Even more strikingly, in the general American population, 3.9 percent of adult men are 6′2″ or taller. Among my CEO sample, 30 percent were 6′2″ or taller.”

http://www.gladwell.com/blink/blink_excerpt2.html

joe

December 13th, 2012
1:02 pm

Anyone who thinks Slick Willie doesn’t sneak a trip to Mikey D’s every so often is off their rocker

guy

December 13th, 2012
1:04 pm

I am not a con or a crat. You do not worry me one bit,sorry!

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
1:04 pm

“Among my CEO sample, 30 percent were 6′2″ or taller.” Man, I coulda been a CEO.

indigo

December 13th, 2012
1:05 pm

If Christie runs, it seems likely, at this time, that Hillary will be his opponent. Assuming he doesn’t lose any weight and that four more years of aging are no kinder to her than most other people, the bottom line base decision will be; do we vote for the fat guy or the old lady?

Well, maybe he’ll lose weight and Hillary will get a face lift.

godless heathen - fiscal cliff dweller

December 13th, 2012
1:05 pm

The hard-hitting question you won’t hear:

WALTERS (to Hillary Clinton): “There are people who say that you couldn’t be president because you are so ugly. What do you say to that?”

Granny Godzilla

December 13th, 2012
1:05 pm

Of course it is a problem….

I hope he gets help.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
1:05 pm

guy,

What are you then?

godless heathen - fiscal cliff dweller

December 13th, 2012
1:07 pm

I hope he gets help.

Just a pound a week and he’ll be at fighting weight in time for the primaries.

Joe Hussein Mama

December 13th, 2012
1:07 pm

Okay, one mean joke and then a serious comment.

Run for President? That man couldn’t run for a cheesesteak if his life depended on it!

Okay, serious comment time.

I am sure that the Presidency is a demanding job in many ways, and I’m sure that a President needs to be fit and healthy in order to do the job he or she is elected to. That said, Christie’s not projecting the *image* of being up to the job, *regardless* of whether he really is healthy enough for it or not. I’m not questioning his health — I’m merely pointing out that, at his weight, he doesn’t LOOK healthy, and that alone will turn off a lot of voters. His image is going to make a big difference if he decides to go for it, and if I were in his position, I’d be seriously trying to work off the pounds before the primary season gets underway.

Remember Mike Huckabee? He used to be obese, too, and he successfully changed that. I’m not saying I’d vote for Huckabee or Christie *because* of that, but I certainly respect the effort and self-control that goes into losing that much weight and keeping it off.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
1:07 pm

godless,

Hate Hillary much?

What have you done to compare to her service?

emo

December 13th, 2012
1:07 pm

“How do you know how Stewart would fare? “oh I don’t like him and I bet a comedian could kick his butt..”

Umm, because he was on the Daily Show and Stewart handled him like the pro he (Stewart) is? Would that do? You can find it on the Net.

indigo

December 13th, 2012
1:09 pm

guy – 12:49

Time for you to leave the real world and go back to la la land.

tm

December 13th, 2012
1:09 pm

And his opponent with be that slim and fit Clinton lady.

Chris Matthews

December 13th, 2012
1:09 pm

I wouldn’t vote for Obama beause of his Big ears!

DebbieDoRight - A Do Right Woman

December 13th, 2012
1:09 pm

Georgia: Hillary 2016: cause fat and stupid is no way to go through four years.

OMG too funny! :lol: :lol:
+++++++++++++
All — the problem probably isn’t his food intake — but the TYPE of food he’s ingesting. Huckabee lost over 100 pounds when he stopped eating white flour, white sugar and white rice. He switched to a more “whole grains” approach and that helped him to loose weight substantially.

Our foods, in America, ARE KILLING US. With the advent of foods high in pesticides, HIgh fructose corn syrup that leaves high levels of sugar in our bodies for longer periods of time — thus helping to create a propensity for diabetes, high antiobiotic use in animals, turning herbivores into carnivores by grinding up and feeding them their comrades, and the blatant disregard for basic US Standards in processing some foods; we are being slowly killed through our foods.

Its like that old Star Trek episode, where the Klingon empire attacked the grain of a colony so that even though the colonists ate daily, they were still starving to death.

We are starving ourselves with the processed foods that we are ingesting.

=============

End of DDR’s rant. :)

getalife

December 13th, 2012
1:10 pm

Get your cheap shots on Hillary while you can cons.

She retires in Jan 13 .

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
1:10 pm

Jabba versus Medusa. Hmmmm.

Richard

December 13th, 2012
1:11 pm

“The difference is he didn’t have to be President on television. You said it yourself a million times: ‘if there had been a TV in every livingroom 60 years ago, this country does not elect a man in a wheelchair.’” – Martin Sheen as AJ in The American President

emo

December 13th, 2012
1:11 pm

And don’t forget, when you cross his weight with his personality, you get BULLY. Obviously, he has some issues, but he dosn’t need to work them out in the White House. Remember Bush, Jr?
And Huckleberry may have kept the weight off, but he’s just a thin jerk, now.

Morality?

December 13th, 2012
1:14 pm

Is Babwa Wa Wa’s face lift and botox a problem – unfortunately it is. Dumb article Jay.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
1:14 pm

Gomer Pyle had surgery to lose the weight but gained it back.

Granny Godzilla

December 13th, 2012
1:15 pm

godless

that’s how it’s done….

and for his sake and his family too, he should start now.

Nunna Yobinnes

December 13th, 2012
1:15 pm

godless heathen - fiscal cliff dweller

December 13th, 2012
1:15 pm

get: I don’t hate Hillary. I was just pointing out a liberal journalist’s hypocrisy and seeing how the progressives here would react if Waters asked a similar question of Mrs. Clinton.

Who knew?

December 13th, 2012
1:16 pm

Low-hanging fruit

guy

December 13th, 2012
1:16 pm

getalife, again,you have nose problems!

getalife

December 13th, 2012
1:18 pm

godless,

Waters did interview Hillary but asked about her hair.

Morality?

December 13th, 2012
1:19 pm

Jay wants a continuation of the “Reality Show” President where appearance is of utmost importance – and content is non existent. Let’s see – Obama is our 1st Reality Show” President and will we have a spin off called “Reality President Too?”. Comes on right after the obese women trying on wedding dresses and “House Wives of BOTOX”.

Corbin Sharpe. Baby Boomer...and got the scars to priove it!

December 13th, 2012
1:19 pm

It had been said that if there were TVs in every household during the 1930’s, FDR never would have been elected President. Men in wheelchairs do not get elected. I believe that same mindset would prevent Governor Christie from ever being elected President today. He might not even win the GOP nomination.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
1:19 pm

guy,

You are an angry old white con.

Your words prove it.

indigo

December 13th, 2012
1:19 pm

One thing you can say about Christie. He definitely is a hard man to push around.

Many of you here seem to think Obama essentially apologizes to our foes. I seriously doubt Christie would ever get that sort of critizism.

Morality?

December 13th, 2012
1:21 pm

Babwa Wa Wa – belongs in a Wax Museum.

larry

December 13th, 2012
1:22 pm

I wouldnt bet the house on Clinton winning the nomination in’16

Mr. Coumo has a serious shot at it.

Just sayin’

Mike

December 13th, 2012
1:22 pm

Dang we are starting early on the bashing of a potential candidate, aren’t we?

Morality?

December 13th, 2012
1:23 pm

Apologizes to our foes? You don’t get it do you. They aren’t Obama’s foes.

Granny Godzilla

December 13th, 2012
1:24 pm

Morality?

December 13th, 2012
1:19 pm
.
.
.
So nice to have a “reality show” expert amongst us.

Such literate and illuminating entertainment!

You sir, have reality show fan written all over you.

tee hee hee

Real Housewives of Gold miners who buy storage units on the Jersey Shore.

Can’t wait till it come out on DVD.

getalife

December 13th, 2012
1:24 pm

Your speaker cut and ran again and is going home.

No deal.