The Chris Christie girth control watch and fat jokes have returned to TV amid chatter about a brokered Republican nominating convention.
On Tuesday night, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart used the New Jersey governor's recent veto of a bill legalizing same sex marriage to go after his size. “Chris Christie seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of marriage equality, specifically the equality part,” Stewart said. “It’s surprising, since he too is a member of a group that society does not always grant a full measure of respect. I’m referring, of course, to Christie’s choice to live openly as an obese American.” There followed a parade of GOP hopefuls — Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum among others — mouthing doctored utterances that substituted "fat" for "same sex" marriage. Subtle it wasn’t.
CNN’s Piers Morgan raised the issue somewhat more seriously during his recent Christie interview. “I couldn’t help but noticing, I feel like you're slightly trimmer, governor.”
"I'm working on it," he replied. "I am trying to be healthy, I am eating better, I am working with a trainer." But, Christie noted, "We don't take any victory laps in this battle, Piers. I've been going through it for 20 plus years." As he approaches 50, Christie explained, "I am starting to feel my own mortality." He said he wanted to stay alive for his children and future grandchildren. As a vocal backer of the tall lanky Romney, Christie did not mention his own presidential or vice-presidential ambitions.
Morgan, however, cited previous White House occupants with weight issues, including William Howard Taft, who reportedly required an oversize bathtub.
Expect more such focus on physique as Christie continues to be mentioned as a possible alternative to the four surviving contenders: Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.
And expect continued debate over whether size matters in presidential elections. Some political consultants contend that being overweight confers "authenticity" and regular guy status on candidates, while others suggest obesity might prompt voters to negatively equate a politician's fiscal discipline with physical discipline.
On the other hand, given rising gas prices, high unemployment, the European financial crisis and Middle East volatility, the latest round of Chris Christie fat jokes may prove to be entirely too...fatuous.