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jca's avatar

If NJ Governor Chris Christie ever ran for President of the US, do you think his weight should be or would be a factor in his ability to be elected?

Asked by jca (36054points) January 20th, 2012

Do you think of NJ Governor Chris Christie ever decided to run for President, his weight (which is probably about 300 lbs, give or take) is or will be an issue? Should it be? Do you think the stigma that exists against the obese in our society would be an issue for him?

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31 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think that he would be praised for his policies not his avoir dupois.

wundayatta's avatar

Someone should do some research into what happened to other fat Presidents in our history. I wonder if they had any particular health problems while in office. I wonder how old they were when they died.

Aside from that, I agree with @marinelife that his policies are what are important. However, I do not agree that he should be praised for them.

jca's avatar

I am thinking if there were any other fat presidents (which there probably were) in US history, it would not have been recently. Now we have a real emphasis on youthfulness and fitness, and there’s a stigma against the overweight in our society (I speak from experience, as someone who recently had weight loss surgery and has lost 100 lbs since, I see the discrepancy in how I used to be treated and how I am often treated now).

Aethelflaed's avatar

Would it be a factor? Oh yeah, we definitely would fat-shame the hell out of him – just look at how big it was when he was “running” for president (hell, I don’t really know anything about him or his politics, just that I should hate him for being too fat). Should it be? No, the bigotry towards those who aren’t thin “healthy” enough really needs to stop.

phaedryx's avatar

According to this table, Bill Clinton was the most overweight of the recent presidents. I seem to remember a lot of jokes about his weight and eating habits.

Blackberry's avatar

Of course it would be a factor. Race, religion, product loyalty etc are all issues for someone out there.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I imagine that his opponents would be subtle about it, letting the media and ordinary human prejudice take care of the explicit discussions regarding his weight. Maybe a joke or two, but they need to be careful not to alienate the “overweight” demographic (which, as we are constantly being reminded, is now a majority of Americans). Go too far with it, after all, and you’ll get a backlash from both voters and the media (“today’s story, is Candidate X more obsessed with fats than facts?”).

Judi's avatar

Since TV, I don’t think we have had a fat president have we? I don’t think the masses could handle it.

zenvelo's avatar

As far as Christie is concerned, I think he would have to get a Doctor to say he is in good health. Depending on his heart attack risk, he’d have to choose a pretty well respected Vice President candidate.

It was an “issue” when Clinton ran for his first term, he said it was from all the fast food and state fair crap he ate while campaigning. About the time of the Democratic Convention it was reported he’d gained 30 lbs in a year and a half. But he did drop considerably between then and the election.

@phaedryx I wonder when those stats were collected, Clinton’s weight varied a lot over the eight years. And now he is in the best shape of his life, he is pretty much vegan because of continuing heart problems.

Aster's avatar

Definitely I think his weight would be detrimental. That’s our society today with it’s emphasis on appearances. He’s so popular that I wish he’d lose at least fifty pounds so he could be president! Silly Americans, and I am one, elect attractive men for the office instead of the best candidate for the job.

Nullo's avatar

I read once that older, heavier men with vaguely Dixie-esque accents tend to resonate well with people. If he dresses well, and if the media and internet don’t call attention to it (but you know they will), he’ll most likely come across as a nice guy. TvTropes warning!

zenvelo's avatar

Actually, I think this is a more pressing concern for Newt Gingrich. I think Christie carries his weight much better.

flutherother's avatar

I can’t see him ever running for office. Walking maybe.

reijinni's avatar

I do have some issues with him, his weight is not among the top issues.

jerv's avatar

Reagan and Thurmond were older than dirt and already had one foot in the grave based solely on age, so I don’t think weight will be much of an issue.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Not at all. The fact that he is so willing to discuss the matter would put the masses of our obese Nation at ease. He struggle with his weight. He always has. He tries to change it, but admits it is a constant struggle.

Personally, I think it helps him. It makes him relatable.

Aster's avatar

I disagree. The President must look fit and healthy when he goes to speak in other countries. I am not saying it’s fair ; just that it’s true. His image when traveling is very important or PEOPLE WILL MAKES JOKES ABOUT HIM. That does not help him gain respect. Just the way it is. I stay home. I can be as fat as anyone. I am not running for the highest office in the land.
Romney will be prez.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Aster Good point. I can’t imagine a world in which people are willing to make fun of a sitting president. ~

Sorry, had to get that joke out of my system. I do understand where you are coming from, though: being the leader of a nation is a demanding job, and part of the job is to represent us to other nations. Whether we like it or not, other nations will react to our leaders based on more than a two-page policy document filled with policy analysis. Attitude and appearance are both part of that overall representation. He’ll be criticized for not being an example to the nation, just as Obama was criticized for his smoking. So if we’re just talking about the way it is—and not the way it should be—you are correct that Christie’s weight is an issue. That said, I rather think he could overcome the issue.

DaphneT's avatar

No, I don’t think his weight would be a decider. Newt isn’t a lightweight either. Both could have heart and stamina issues, but so could any person in those high profile positions, big or small.

chyna's avatar

I would hate to think that the nation would elect one man with bad morales, or one that hides his money in oversea accounts over a man that is overweight.

saint's avatar

Are you electing a chief executive, or buying a horse? What exactly is the problem with a fat president anyway? Just curious.

DaphneT's avatar

@saint, the potential problem is early demise. If Christie won the presidency, and suddenly died of causes related to obesity, we would have the VP as prez. So the real question might be, who is Christie’s running mate?

saint's avatar

@DaphneT Any president can die anytime. WH Harrison lasted around 90 days. Lincoln got killed before he served 90 days of his second term. Some things are out of your control and don’t really matter anyway.

jca's avatar

@saint: some things are out of our control, but you don’t see many 300 lb people in nursing homes.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I think @saint‘s point is that time of death is always uncertain, so we should focus more on competence and less on long-term health issues when choosing who will lead the country. If the US were a country that had no backup system for its leadership, the longevity of any particular leader might be a very important issue. Given that we have a line of succession, however, we have more room to discount the possibility that the president—who has the absolute best healthcare money can buy despite availing himself of the public option—will die unexpectedly.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@jca But, at age 49, Christie is no where near nursing home age.

saint's avatar

@jca So what? Since when does a candidate for president have to give some guarantee that he will be there to hold our collective helpless hands and “be there for us” for four, maybe eight years? I don’t get it. First of all, it is a pathetic notion, and second of all, the president wields power, but he is not Fearless Leader. Has everybody finally devolved into Denton Walthall, the Ponytail Guy?

zenvelo's avatar

@saint It’s because we elect a president, but have little say on the successor. It was a real issue with McCain that Palin was completely unprepared to be a successor to an old man with health issues. So, no, they don’t have to guarantee that they’ll be around for four years. But they should do their best to choose someone competent to take over.

chyna's avatar

@zenvelo I don’t think McCain lost only because Palin was his running mate, but it sure didn’t help him.

saint's avatar

@zenvelo The principal applies to the successor as well. So what? If you really believed you were electing your Beloved Protector, you would demand, through your representatives, that the Constitution be changed so that you could vote directly for the VP.
If the stakes were that high, the Pres. candidate would choose their running mate on other criteria other than their ability to deliver votes. Obviously, your Father Figure president plays politics before he worries about if you can go to sleep feeling safe at night.

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