The online aggregator Fark.com asked “We need an entire article, from a major newspaper, on how fat Chris Christie is?” The newspaper was the Los Angeles Times, and media reporter James Rainey was playing with the weight issue. The headline was "Chris Christie, the Republican heavyweight, is really heavy."
“Those getting their first impression of Christie will be comparing him to a battalion of toned and tanned politicians. The ascendance of one with (in Christie’s own words) a ‘big, fat rear end’ may come as a relief,” he wrote. Rainey wanted readers to know Christie is getting even fatter this year:
Christie supporters conceded that in recent months the already sizable governor has layered even more bulk on his 5-foot-11-inch frame. His weighty challenge turned serious in July 2011 when the governor had to visit the emergency room for chronic asthma, a condition he conceded had been exacerbated by his weight.
He acknowledged to Oprah Winfrey , “I don't like being overweight.”
Others have been less sensitive. When Christie shouted down a profanity-spewing heckler this year, David Letterman put the confrontation to music. The late-night comedian said inciting Christie amounted to “crossing a rhino.”
Rainey and the Times are not going to qualify as “sensitive” on this matter. Rainey acknowledged that Christie’s Democrat opponent last time, Gov. Jon Corzine, tried to mock his weight and lost the election, but as a reporter, he didn’t have anything to lose by making fun of the poundage:
With mountain-biking George W. Bush and basketball-playing Barack Obama the most recent models, the presidency has become the home of determined mesomorphs. Mitt Romney works out daily on an elliptical machine and vice presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan has led exhausting P90X fitness regimes for fellow members of the House of Representatives.
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about his aspirations for the keynote speech, Christie set a relatively modest goal. “I think if the American people watch tonight, leave the speech by saying, ‘Yep, that's him, that's who I heard about, seems genuine to me,’ then I think I will have done my job for me,” he said.
The governor will be putting considerable weight behind those words. And every pound will be proof to his backers that he, indeed, is the genuine article.