'Today' Show Panel Wonders if Chris Christie Too Fat to Be President

Update [12:28 ET]: Full transcript added.

On Thursday's NBC "Today," co-host Savannah Guthrie asked a panel of guests about the possibility of New Jersey's governor entering the presidential race and observed: "There's kind of this conventional wisdom among the political chattering class that someone as heavy as Chris Christie-" Dr. Nancy Snyderman interjected: "As fat as he is." Guthrie continued: "...would not be elected." [Audio available here]

Fellow panelist, attorney Star Jones, chimed in: "You are so sweet the way you put that. You're really asking us will America elect a fat president?" Later in the discussion, advertising executive Donny Deutsch fretted: "If he's [Christie's] not disciplined enough to keep himself healthy, is he disciplined enough to make the tough decisions for our country?...if he's not in charge of himself, can he be in charge of country?"

View video after the jump

Prior to Barack Obama promoting morbidly obese government from the Oval Office, "Today's" Matt Lauer gushed over the President-elect's physique in December of 2008: "And fit to serve, Barack Obama photographed shirtless in Hawaii and a lot of women are giving him the presidential seal of approval."

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On Thursday, Jones argued the importance of a candidate's appearance as she proclaimed: "...if we look back to history, if you look at like Nixon and Kennedy, America looked at the two of them, one looked like the little troll from the Lord of the Rings and the other looked like Harrison Ford."

Before Deutsch questioned Christie's ability to be president, he did highlight the Governor's positive attributes: "I think now that people are looking for the quintessential outsider, the quintessential non-politician." Guthrie asked if Christie's weight could "add to his authenticity?" Deutsch declared: "I think it does. 'Wait a second, he doesn't look like a politician....he looks like me.'" Jones dismissed the idea: "But we want a healthy government, we want a healthy person."

Moments later, Snyderman gave her diagnosis of Christie: "Well, he's not healthy. I mean, he's probably pre-diabetic. If he doesn't have high blood pressure, he soon will be....He's morbidly obese, so I can tell you he's not healthy....Do we want our leaders to look like us? If so, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Or do we want a leader to lead in a different way?"

Here is a full transcript of the September 29 discussion:

9:09AM ET

(...)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I want to move to another pretty controversial topic. Chris Christie, New Jersey's governor, is all in the news this week and there's speculation yet again that he may get into this presidential race, no matter how many times he's denied it. But it does raise a question. There's kind of this conventional wisdom among the political chattering class that someone as heavy as Chris Christie...

NANCY SNYDERMAN: As fat as he is.

GUTHRIE: ...would not be elected.

STAR JONES: You are so sweet the way you put that. You're really asking us, will America elect a fat president?

GUTHRIE: Well, Star, you said it.

DONNY DEUTSCH: Yeah, what do you think? What do you think?

JONES: What, as the resident used-to-be-fat-girl?

DEUTSCH: Yeah, I mean, you know.

JONES: Honestly, there's a lot of prejudice against people who are overweight. People who are overweight or obese or grossly obese.

SNYDERMAN: But does it get in his way of becoming president?

DEUTSCH: No, I'm going to flip it-

JONES: I actually do think, if we look back to history, if you look at like Nixon and Kennedy, America looked at the two of them, one looked like the little troll from the Lord of the Rings and the other looked like Harrison Ford.

DEUTSCH: I want to give – but I want to give the opposite perspective. Traditionally, obviously there is a bias, but I think now that people are looking for the quintessential outsider, the quintessential non-politician-

GUTHRIE: I was going to say, does that add to his authenticity?

DEUTSCH: I think it does. Wait a second, he doesn't look like a politician. He doesn't-

JONES: But we want a healthy government, we want a healthy person.

DEUTSCH: No, that's another issue, he doesn't look – he looks like me. But there are two down side issues. Number one, can he handle the physical rigors of a race? And number two, and this is – please, I'm not taking a knock at overweight people because a lot of people have health issues –  if it's not something where he can't control it, if he's not disciplined enough to keep himself healthy, is he disciplined enough to make the tough decisions for our country? You know, it's self-discipline. And once again, people who struggle with weight have struggles but you kind of go, 'Wait a second, is he really – if he's not in charge of himself can he be in charge of country?'

GUTHRIE: Is it a health issue?

SNYDERMAN: Well, he's not healthy. I mean, he's probably pre-diabetic. If he doesn't have high blood pressure, he soon will be. I'm sure his knees hurt, his feet hurt, his hips hurt.

JONES: I can guarantee all that.

SNYDERMAN: He's morbidly obese, so I can tell you he's not healthy. But it's interesting about leadership. Do we want our leaders to look like us? If so, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Or do we want a leader to lead in a different way? And I think we some – we've blurred the lines with that.

DEUTSCH: Yeah, we've blurred the lines, there's two sides to it.

GUTHRIE: But if we vote for people based on cosmetics, I mean, you have to ask yourself if that's what you get?

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC