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. manhandler1

    I really like this man...and I'm a liberal Democrat.

    February 5, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. asm_ith

    I'm generally a Democrat but I actually do like Christie a lot. A very big concern I would have if he was the Republican nominee would be who he chose as the VP candidate. Like it or not, Christie's weight has to be a health concern, so his choice would matter a lot.

    February 5, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. freeindi

    a good moderate with common sense republican

    February 5, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    How come when people encounter a stranger who is unusually heavy no one asks them their weight, but when they encounter a man who's unusually tall people do not think twice to ask, "How tall are you?" I think

    February 5, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Doug in NYC

    I'm not going to make fun of the man because of his weight. I repsect him, he's not afraid to speak his mind, be humble when he's wrong, Sandy anyone, and change some positions after learning the reality of situations. However, I do think his "In your face" style will not fly on the global stage. He is not one I would vote for should he decide to run for President. But I do have A LOT of respect for him. He shows that he takes a joke as a joke and understands that as a public figure, people will joke about him.

    February 5, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. J

    I thought it was a very impressive performance - even if the Letterman staff likely came up with the pastry bit. He showed himself to have a good sense of humor, and he was a well-informed, effective spokesperson for his state. I don't know much about him yet, but it looks like the Republican party may have one bright spot in a rather bad year. Letterman is a shell of the comedian he once was, but he has turned his show into the one late-night program with must-see interviews.

    February 5, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Sidb1980

    I wouldn't start voting yet. We have four years and I suspect so much will happen by then that Gov. Christie will be an after-thought by that time.

    February 5, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. AL

    Christie makes me think all republicans may not be the enemy. He seems open for bipartisan politics. I'm sick of the "just say no" approach the republicans have adopted.

    February 5, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. DocHollywood

    While obesity is a national problem, and public figures should set as much of an example as any other role model, I'd rather have a person that has extra weight on his/her body and more brains in his/her head. Even as a rather liberal democrat I can see that Christie works for his citizens of his state more than most politicians left and right work for theirs.

    February 5, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. John the Historian

    He looks like a mob boss. can't he get his stomach stapled shut ? never understand why Republicans think he would be a great presidential candidate. At least he supported President Obama in the hurricane disaster. Why Republicans keep supporting the Christian Right and the corporate elite is beyound me. I guess that want that Citizens United support.

    February 5, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Pete

    Like a comedian once said about Christie running for office of governor and he said why don't Christie just roll for that governorship its easier for that guy isn't it!!

    February 5, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. ted

    As with all of us who have a few extra pounds, it is easy to put it on, hard to take it off. So get off the fat jokes and thinking that it is a barrier to the White House. George bush was a thin guy and despite his lack of intelligence and common sense, he got into the white house. So physique means nothing.

    February 5, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. sf

    i'm not going to vote for him because he did what he was SUPPOSED to do as a governor and that's to help the people of his state! that doesn't give him the golden ticket to the presidency..give me a break!

    February 5, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Jan

    To Ted: very well put! Our nation has a problem with obesity. Who the heck decided that our elected officials had to be role models? If so, then they should all be agnostic or atheist...since our constitution separates church and state. Although, it would be kind of nice if some of the elected MALES would clean up their ethics and morals! And language, and total disrespect for our elected, by the people, PRESIDENT

    February 5, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. T

    ......Well, laugh all you want people......but if the gop wants to WIN THE WHITE HOUSE.....they will put up Christie and Huntsman as VP..................................BUT THEY WONT.............because these two are SANE..............

    February 5, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. blake

    The far left is already promoting the man they would like to see be the GOP nominee in 2016. Another RINO like McCain. That didn't work out very well. It is time for the GOP to wake up and begin to rally their resources around a consistent conservative.

    February 5, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. Don

    You will know He is serious about "running" for president when he loses weight. The rigors of the campaign would be too much. for a man that size. He has a pretty good job now.

    February 5, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. gladiatorgrl

    IF the GOP wants to be taken seriously BE serious – obesity IS a national health problem. He should be setting an example INSTEAD of laughing it off – he can keel over from a heart attack as Prez who's is VP another Sarah Palin?
    They scoff at Michelle Obama YET she's DOING something.

    February 5, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Waarii

    He has now become the DARLING of the Left. About time he changed his party and run for president. He is like a Preacher's kid who turns against dad.

    Bromancing with Obama, bashing NRA and gun owners...budy-buddying with the Left? All indications of a true politician who bamboozled the Republican base!

    February 5, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. Tom

    I guess I don't find it funny when an obese person acts like they don't care about being obese. I get the joke with the donut, but I don't think how 40% of our nation is obese is funny. I don't laugh when I have to pay my insurance and know that part of why it is so high is because of the obesity epidemic in this country.

    February 5, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. EScap

    Sly –

    Did you ever think that perhaps the appeal of Christie is to the Independents and the center leaning conservatives and liberals? I for one do not identify with any party, I'm a registered independent. If the man can cross lines when he needs to, it is a much needed step in the right direction.

    It is the fringe on both sides of the aisle that have destroyed the civility of the office, no doubt about it. I dislike nothing more than for party leaders to pander to these folks. This is precisely why I did not vote for Mitt; he refused to show who he truly is, a moderate republican for fear of alienating the fringe. I LOVE that Christie is willing to stand on the principles that he believes, no pandering required.

    February 5, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Man DeLorean

    As a person who's working my own weight issues, I appreciate his humor and taking the jokes in stride. I do hope for his own sake he decides to take some steps to work on his health, as he is to the age where it's going to really start to matter. I'd hate to see the most (maybe only) intelligent thinker in the GOP become incapacitated.

    February 5, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. jerzygurl135

    I get a big kick with all the liberals bashing Christie because of his weight and the health concerns. Where are these phonies when it comes to admonishing Obama and his nasty habit with the cancer sticks?

    February 5, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I like this man and I too am a liberal Democrat and I wish he would change parties, the Repugs aren't worthy of him.

    February 5, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Okay, putting the weight issue to the side, let me just say that I am seeing a lot of folks that would be willing to at least consider voting for Christie totally forgetting what an analpore he was when he was campaigning for Mittens. Totally forgetting that he had to return stimulus monies that should've been put to use to put his people in his state back to work but that would've made the President look good so no he said. He's done other not so nice or bright things (ask Rudy NYC)like turning down that rail system in New Jersey (more jobs denied).
    Anywho, my only point is this: the Rethugs count on our willingness as non-Rethugs to see and believe in the good in people. Gosh, I'd venture to say they BANK on it. We've been so starved by these extreme right-wingers and their outrageous acts of treason against our country and our President that a few appropriately placed acts of common sense and civility is all it takes for us to say " He's not that bad. I'd vote for him evenif he is a Rethuglikkklan".
    I've voted for Rethuglikkklans before. Pardon me. And it is very likely that I wasn't paying as close attention to them then as I am now, and thus they got my vote in spite of themselves. But I don't think that this brand of crazy Rethug was around then because if they were it would take a few more conveniently placed acts of simple human decency to have garnered my vote.
    Beware these people. They are tricky opportunists. But who knows, maybe Christie has seen the error of his ways?
    I'm not convinced. Not yet...

    February 5, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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