As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC's Chris Matthews took some cheap shots at New Jersey governor Chris Christie's weight while speaking at a radio event last Thursday.
Displeased with the immature condescension aimed at his state's chief executive, Fox News's Neil Cavuto went after the "Hardball" host's lack of decorum on Monday's "Your World" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NEIL CAVUTO: Not skinny? Well fat chance you will ever, ever get a break, especially if you are a Republican. A certain media icon named Chris, that’s all I’m going to say, going after a certain New Jersey governor named Chris, as in Chris Christie, that’s what I will say. Not over things that matter, but something that should not: the Governor's weight. At a Q&A held at the Ritz Carlton in Washington recently, media Chris says of governor Chris, that he and I quote, "Should not wear white shirts.” Goes on to say, “The Gov must be 300-plus pounds.” That it’s something he has got to deal with because and I quote, "You are not going to say I’m going to cut the budget. Well, how about starting with supper” and other such cheap shots.
Well, media Chris, how about you starting with facts? Like the fact that so-called fat governor has cut the budget. I live in Jersey, so I should know. Balancing it his very first year all by cutting out the fat you abhor without the tax increase you might favor.
Look media Chris, just because you could dye your hair does not mean you can dye the truth, because here’s this fat guy: he is eating his critics alive and putting his very fit and skinny predecessor Jon Corzine to shame, because while Mr. Corzine might have cut a very fine form, he never cut spending, and ballooned the state deficit while eating up every last taxpayer dollar.
It is remarkable to me that those who delight in pointing out someone's girth as if it is some disqualifier for office say not a word about their Party's own heavyweights and never even suggest their weight is a disqualifier for any office. No, Chris Christie is fat, and Haley Barbour weighs too much. I say way too much. Would media Chris have said the same of Winston Churchill? Would he be so focused on the guy's gut to miss the guy’s guts? So concerned Winston wasn’t GQ that he’d miss Winston’s weighty IQ. No, not a clue.
All I know is a lot of thin, fit guys in both parties, both parties got us in some pretty big messes. We could do a hell of a lot worse than entertain not so thin and fit guys to get us out of those messes, because for those who love to quote a visionary who ask we judge men not by the color of their skin but the content of their character, it seems weird that they still judge the weight of that skin before they even get to their character, which makes them characters, and pathetic ones at that.
Judging our leaders not by the qualities that matter but the nonsense like this that does not, where greatness is defined not by who you are but how you look. You know what that is? That is racism – with a scale. That might give some a tingly feeling up their leg. I just prefer they first look in the mirror themselves and stick their condescending comments up their you know what. But again, that is just me isn’t it? Just me: slightly overweight, very pissed.
Nicely said, Neil.
As Cavuto accurately noted, the Democrat Party has had its share of portly statesmen. One of Matthews' heroes is Ted Kennedy, someone that had huge struggles with his weight while he was alive.
More importantly, as Hot Air's Allahpundit pointed out Monday, the presidential appearance standard has certainly changed of late:
The cookie-cutter image of the tall, fit, white, male president has been shattered, not just because of Obama but because his chief rivals for the presidency in both parties are women. If the public’s ready to accept a black president and a woman president, I think they’re ready for a husky one — especially when he has a reputation for trimming budgetary, er, fat.
Couldn't have said it any better except to say: grow up, Chris.
Chiding someone for his or her appearance is what we expect from your colleagues Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz. Please try to be at least slightly more respectable than them if at all possible.
(H/T Right Scoop)
*****Update: After reading some comments, in particular about how fat William Howard Taft was - upwards of 350 pounds some say - I decided to do a little research on this issue.
With this in mind, our overweight presidents include:
Those considered obese include:
Only Taft was considered morbidly obese.
Add it all up, and despite Matthews' concerns about Christie's weight, fitness doesn't seem to be a requirement for the job of president.