Friday, February 08, 2013

Christie gets testy

By Richard K. Barry



New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was once again employing that trademark charm of his when he called a former White House doctor a "hack" for suggesting he was at risk of dying in office because of his weight. He also told her to "shut up" unless she examined him, according to ABC News
Said Christie: "If she wants to get on a plane and come here to New Jersey and asks me if she wants to examine me and review my medical history, I'll have a conversation with her about that. Until that time she should shut up."

This was First Read's take:
We’ve seen a lot of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) this week, talking about -- and joking about -- his weight. We also saw him get serious in a back and forth with an Arizona doctor – and former White House doctor – who suggested Christie lose weight because she’s afraid he’d die in office. Christie took offense. It makes for good cable fodder, but let’s not miss the bigger picture. Why did this topic come up? Christie decided to bring it up. This is about Christie trying to confront, ON HIS TERMS, what would be one of his biggest obstacles if he launches a presidential bid in 2016. He knows this is a hurdle; he knows it’s not an insignificant one. The biggest thing is he has changed his tone on this, becoming much more open about it, even hinting that he’s on a program and that people would notice if it’s working relatively soon. As late as last year, Christie’s standard response was essentially: my weight is my business, period. Not anymore. If you needed a hint that Christie is trying to get it together to run for president, this is it. There’s every chance Christie can use his battle with weight issues to connect to average Americans. It’s something everyone can relate to. But Christie has to look like he DOES care about this issue. And this week, he’s done a 180 and indicated he cares.

The first thing to note is that a president's medical records, or those who might aspire to the office, are a matter of great public interest, and you don't have to be a fan of The West Wing to know that. Second, I didn't go to medical school but I don't think that's required to understand that someone of Gov. Christie's size is in serious danger of living a much shorter life than those who are not his size.

Maybe Christie can use the issue to connect with average Americans, especially those who don't like to hear friendly advice only meant to help. Christie may have changed his tone on his weight problem, but it's still not a good tone. 

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