Gov. Chris Christie reportedly opted for weight loss surgery in 2013 to boost his chances for a run at the White House. But until now, he’s been silent about precisely how many pounds he’s shed. In a private meeting with potential campaign donors, however, Christie supposedly admitted that he has lost 85 pounds, reported the Daily Journal on Sept. 22.
The problem for Republican party pundits weighing his chances at success, however, is that Christie still qualifies as obese. And in a nation where “you can never be too rich or too thin” still holds true in most voters’ views, his weight may harm his chances, warns Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray.
“While appearance is not going to be the deciding factor in a presidential race, it could have an impact in a very close race. It’s also a character issue because, like it or not, some people think obesity is a character flaw and a sign of somebody who can’t control himself,” said Murray candidly.
Now Christie is claiming that the reports about his 85-pound weight loss were erroneous. He insists that there’s nothing political about his decision and wants to keep it personal, reported ABC News on Sept. 23. He also doesn’t talk about diets.
“First off, I don’t talk about numbers,” Christie claimed. “I don’t talk about that stuff and the reason I don’t is because that’s my business and not anybody else’s.” And he doesn’t want to be viewed as a role model for weight loss.
“As far as being an inspiration for other people, that’s not why I am doing it. I decided to do what I’ve done because I needed to do it for my own health,” added the governor. He also contended that voters are not bothered by his weight.
For those who argue that obesity doesn’t affect the ability to govern, however, there is also the fact that those who are overweight have higher risks of heart disease and stroke. Former White House doctor Connie Mariano raised that issue in 2013, saying that at his current weight, Christie was in an danger of having a stroke or heart attack.
As for Mariano’s views now that Christie has lost 85 pounds? She apparently learned from the firestorm that resulted when she voiced her thoughts on his weight in 2013.
“At this time, she says she doesn’t have any comment on this subject,” came the carefully worded response from an assistant at Mariano’s Arizona practice.
Christie has declined to state his exact weight currently. He’s tried to make light of the issue, joking with donors at an event, reported NJ News on Sept. 22.
“A doctor once told me you have to have the right relationship with the food you eat. And believe me, for many years, I had a great relationship with the foods I ate,” said Christie.
But the politician recognizes that he has a problem. He admitted that “he understood he had to slim down if he wanted to move beyond Trenton,” said a source.
And if he does make it to the White House, Christie can anticipate being closely scrutinized for his eating habits. Bill Clinton, for example, was famously photographed for stopping at McDonald’s after jogging. But although Clinton was pudgy while in office, he was considered acceptably overweight, according to pollster Patrick Murray.
“You don’t have to be built like a track star to be president, which Bill Clinton proved, but you have to be within a certain range (of weight) because appearance matters,” said Murray. “Chris Christie was outside that range.”