Chris Christie Debate: Would U.S. Ever Elect Fat President?

Despite his often heated denials, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reportedly thinking about making a late entry into the Republican race for president. Aside from his tough-talking style, much of the conversation about Christie centers on his weight, raising the question: Would Americans elect a fat person as president?

President Clinton was a famous fast food eater and battled the bulge while in the White House. But the last president who was as large as Christie was William Howard Taft, and that was at the turn of the century (the 20th century).

There are some pundits who say Christie's weight should disqualify him from being president. The New York Daily News reports that Michael Kinsley wrote for Bloomberg News:

Look, I’m sorry, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cannot be President: He is just too fat. The obesity epidemic is real and dangerous, and the president inevitably sets an example.

The Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote that Christie's weight matters because lawmakers perform best when they are in good health and Christie "obviously is not" in optimal health. He advised him to "eat a salad and take a walk."

Greg Pollowitz of the National Review called Robinson's column "insane," saying if Christie's weight is a big deal, then so is President Obama's cigarette smoking.

Even the liberal The New York Times defended Christie, with columnist (and former restaurant critic) Frank Bruni writing:

Downgrade Christie for his truculent style. Reject him for his limited experience. But don't dwell on his heft. Girth doesn't equal character.

Christie is open about his weight struggles, although he declines to reveal exactly how much he weighs. He admits that he would be healthier if he weighed less.

Christie was rushed to a hospital with an asthma attack in July. He insisted at the time that it had nothing to do with is weight.

But Christie and the scribes can say anything they want, but the most important question is would you vote for an overweight candidate for president?


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