February 5th, 2013
08:06 AM ET
10 years ago

Christie takes fat jokes in stride (and with a donut)

(CNN) – His waistline could become a major factor of a potential 2016 presidential bid, but Chris Christie was all laughs Monday reflecting on his weight.

As he sat on David Letterman's couch - facing the comedian who often jabs fun at his weight - the New Jersey governor pulled a donut from his pocket and started nibbling away.

"I didn't know this was going to be this long," Christie joked.

Letterman and his fellow late-night hosts have long mocked Christie for his size, as well as for his pugnacious attitude at press conferences. But the Republican governor doesn't seem to take it personally.

"I only care if you're funny," he told Letterman Monday. "From my perspective, if the joke is funny, I laugh. If it's not funny, I don't laugh. But I've never felt like it was anything that bugged me all that much."

His family is constantly pressing him to lose weight, Christie said, though his doctors still tell him his health is "startlingly good."

"But I just turned 50," he added. "The doctor's now saying that things will start falling off me if I don't start getting things together. But up to this point, pretty good."

His cholesterol and blood sugar are normal, according to Christie.

"I'm basically the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life," he joked.

In December, Christie pushed back at critics doubting his ability to lead because of his weight, calling it "ridiculous" to say he couldn't be president because of his size.

Though he admitted to ABC's Barbara Walters he's "more than a little" overweight, when asked if his size could hinder his ability to run for the White House he said "I don't know what the basis for that is."

"I've done this job pretty well, and I think people watched me for the last number of weeks in Hurricane Sandy doing 18 hour days and getting right back up the next day and still being just as effective in the job, so I don't really think that would be a problem," he said.

The county's largest president, William Howard Taft, weighed in at more than 300 pounds, and in a now-infamous anecdote, had the White House bathtub enlarged after being uncomfortable in a standard sized tub.

Asked by Letterman whether he'd decided on whether to make a bid for the White House, Christie said he was "nowhere near making that decision."

"I have to think anybody who tries to plan at politics that far in advance is crazy, because the world's changed, your life changes," he said, adding that in 2012 his entire family was against him running for the White House.

Filed under: Chris Christie
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Actually, I thought it was funny. Nice to see someone in public life who can take a joke, as opposed to Palin, Rand Paul, etc. I don't agree with a lot of his positions, but at least he has a sense of humor about himself.

    February 5, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. ST

    To: Anyone who is defending Christie's weight
    We should not talk like laymen. There is no doctor on earth who can certify that he is fit for the job incase he has to run for presidency. He has to undergo his healthy check up first. He is wise, intelligent BUT his weight is a big burden on him.

    February 5, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. AlphaMaryYankee

    Goodness! Mr. Christie, if you care about your family, your constituents and yourself you will change your eating habits to five small meals a day...get treadmill to put in your office and cut almost all of the sugar out of your diet (you need a small amount) but please, you are on the fast track to a short future with diabetes and stroke.

    February 5, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. 2016

    Chris Christie will be the next President of the USA!

    February 5, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. cleareye1

    It is really interesting that a guy so good at running his state, and could be a serious contender for running the country, won't have that chance because he is unable to control his personal intake of food. It is simple. If he said today he was going to correct this problem in order to have a long future that can benefit us all, he would be the only Republican with a chance against Hillary.

    February 5, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. Erin

    He's the closest thing to a republican I would ever consider voting for. Not saying I would vote for him – but compared to the crazy kooks that the GOP considers to be "top conservatives", Gov. Christie is a breath of fresh air.

    February 5, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. Name

    Let the poor man have his donut

    February 5, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Independent Voter

    If Hillary runs, she will be the next President for sure, hands down!

    February 5, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. gmenfan54

    Thin may be in..but fat is where it's at!

    February 5, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Jack 2

    If christy runs I won't be voting for him. He has a loyalty problem. his only loyalty is to further himself at others expense.

    February 5, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Spiker715

    I actually like Chris Christie as a person...not so much with his politics however, there is NO WAY that a woman could be that size, joke about it and be considered for any higher office. It just would not happen!

    February 5, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. JeanneLH

    This guy used to tick me off until I saw him stand up to the GOP following Hurricane Sandy. He calls a spade a spade and was able to work with Obama when his state was in trouble. He got the Congress to finally get in motion by calling Boehner on. The GOP needs that. They are simply clueless. This is one Repubican that needs to be emulated. He was just trying to be funny on Letterman. When you're heavy, you know it and to have Barbara WaWa ask him that stupid question...well that ticks me off too.

    February 5, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. fat party unite

    fat people make up a majority in this country. if we all form a political party, the democrats and republicans are toast. then who will be laughing at who?

    February 5, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Ditto for me.

    Let the poor man have his donut

    February 5, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Democrat

    I got respect for christie, probably wont vote for him, but there is a chance.

    February 5, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    Keep laughing governor all the way to a heart attack. Once you experience it – maybe you'll take your weight a lot more serious. Being POTUS is a tough and demanding job, and your weight would slow you down significantly. The pressures alone are too much for a healthy man, but keep on gobbling down those donuts and laughing at those "fat jokes" and see where it gets you.

    February 5, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Sue

    I would be just as worried about Andrew Cuomo's health if he runs, given he's in a relationship with (and presumably eats the "food" of) Sandra Lee of Kwanzaa cake infamy.

    February 5, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. DDSilks

    Does anyone out there know how hard it is to lose weight? I am not talking about 5 or 10 pounds, but 70 or 100? I have struggled with weight all my life, and believe me, when you're hungry, it is a very unpleasant feeling. To on a diet and to be hungry for a week or so is not that difficult. But try it for 6 months.+ And a lot of overweight people don't eat all that much–sometimes it's just in their nature to hold onto the extra weight. It doesn't take a few buffets or several boxes of donuts a week.
    Rag on me all you want, call me a fat slob, say I don't care about myself, whatever. But the truth is that losing a lot of weight is just like trying to quit smoking - almost impossible..

    February 5, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Doug Brown

    I believe that this country has a serious problem with weight control, precisely for this reason. It is only a joke.

    February 5, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Minnie Mouse

    That was very funny. It's good when you can live life and enjoy yourself, regardless to what people say or think about you. Regardless of a persons weight or health issues, people can still do jobs just like anyone else and Chris has proven it. Why not eat two donuts? What is there in todays world that's actually healthy anyhow. Everything is loaded, with calories, salt, sugar, chemicals ect.. You get one life, so live it! Good job Chris!!

    February 5, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. clarke

    How is his heart? I like that he can take jokes and that he is his own man.

    February 5, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Big Al

    America is a nation of fat people. A quarter of its population is clinically obese; not overweight, obese. For this country to not vote for a man because he is fat is the ultimate in hypocrisy. One only need visit any restaurant in Mississippi or ride the NYC subway to see the epidemic of gluttony that has consumed (pun intended) the U.S. Shame on any of his compatriots for not voting for him by looking like the rest of them.

    February 5, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Chobrut

    I smell a new series coming in 2016. Republican primaries decided by who can win The Biggest Loser: Primary Edition. Americans will eat that up, literally.

    February 5, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. toonah

    Mmmm... donuts.

    February 5, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Babyboomer

    Anyone who actually believes that Gov. Christie takes his weight in stride or thinks he thinks the fat jokes are funny has most likely never had a real weight problem.
    What you saw on Letterman was a defense mechanism. If I make fun of myself first, others are less likely to. Trust me, no one chooses to be fat. There is a level of cruelty that gets heaped on fat people that is downright inhumane.

    I don't agree with most of his politics and in a Presidential election he wouldn't get my vote but as for his weight, no one know better than the person in the mirror the pain and hurt he faces every single day, unless you've been there...

    I'd personally like to see the media give it a rest. No one needs the relentless, constant, brutal reminders this man takes day after day after day...

    February 5, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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