Legendary journalist, Barbara Walters, is known for her hard-hitting questions and end-of-the-year celebrity specials. And in a recent interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, she certainly didn’t pull any punches.
During an interview for her “Most Fascinating Person of the Year” special, Walters spoke with Gov. Christie shortly after Super Storm Sandy battered his state. While many Republicans initially chided the governor for praising President Obama’s handling of the storm, his popularity is once again soaring, and many consider him a contender for the 2016 Republican nomination.
But there’s one problem: Gov. Christie’s weight.
Although Walters admitted she felt a bit uncomfortable asking the governor about his weight, she inquired anyway.
Gov. Christie, known for his outspoken nature and tell-it-like-it-is personality, admitted that he was “more than a little” heavy, and said that if he knew why he was obese, he would “fix it.”
Despite her apprehension about questioning Gov. Christie about his weight, Walters continued, “There are people who say that you couldn’t be president because you’re so heavy. What do you say to that?”
“That’s ridiculous,” Christie quickly responded. “I mean, that’s ridiculous. I mean I don’t know what the basis for that is.”
“I think they’re worried about your health,” Walters followed up.
“Well, I’ve done this job pretty well and I think people watched me for the last couple weeks and during Hurricane Sandy doing 18-hour days and getting right back up the next day and still being just as effective so I don’t really think that would be a problem,” Christie said.
Despite his assertion that his weight wouldn’t be an issue, it just might be.
Last summer Gov. Christie was hospitalized for asthma, a condition he’s had since he was young, but his weight may have exacerbated the issue. And while over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese, most expect their leaders to be in reasonable shape.
In the 20th Century, only five presidents have weighed in at over 200-pounds, and only two—William H. Taft and Teddy Roosevelt–were considered very overweight.
If Christie does plan on running in 2016 many, on both sides of the aisle, admit that he might want to lose weight first to increase his chances of being elected. But should it matter?
While Christie’s weight can lead to health problems down the line, he insists that his overall health is good. Though voters may take his weight into consideration, doctors say Gov. Christie’s sizeable waistline should be viewed like any other health concern.
Dr. Mitchell Roslin, an obesity surgeon at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City, summed it up: “I think it’s important that the issue be approached similarly to any other medical condition. Mr. Christie’s obesity can be treated far more effectively than if John McCain had a recurrence of his melanoma,” or, for example if President Obama develop cancer due to his long-term smoking.
What do you think? Does Gov. Christie’s weight matter? Politics aside, would you vote for him considering he’s overweight?