Chris Christie’s Lap-Band Surgery: Reactions, Implications for 2016

Image: Chris Christie’s Lap-Band Surgery: Reactions, Implications for 2016 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie feigns a stern look after he was playfully asked about his weight during his appearance in Union Beach, NJ on Feb. 5, 2013.

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 02:56 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Chris Christie’s decision to get lap-band surgery in February, which his office confirmed Tuesday, could have hidden implications for a potential presidential election run in 2016.

Despite his popularity in the Garden State, Christie’s weight has haunted him throughout his term in office. The media and late night comics have poked fun at his size many times before.

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And the majority of Americans seem to expect that their president is relatively in shape. In a December poll conducted by, 38 percent of participants (605 people) said Christie needs to be healthier to run for national office. By contrast, 25 percent (398 people) said the governor's weight was not an issue.

The Washington Post's political blogger, Chris Cillizza, acknowledged Christie has come to be associated with his weight.

"Christie, his advisers and everyone else in politics knows, is this: No one as overweight as the New Jersey governor has come close to winning the presidency (or even a party’s nomination) in the modern — read: television — era," he wrote.

All of the leading 11 Republican candidates in the 2012 presidential election, except for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, had slim or medium builds.

But when the New York Post asked Christie in February why he was having lap-band surgery, the governor said that his four children were his only motivation.

"I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years," he said. "For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."

When reporters asked him if specifically if it was a politically-motivated move, he denied it.

"It’s so much more important than that," he told them.

Aside from hurting his political aspirations, Christie's weight could become life threatening if he is elected in 2016, claims former White House Physician Dr. Connie Mariano. 

"I’m worried about this man dying in office," Mariano told CNN in February.

Mariano, who served George H.W., George W. Bush, and was Bill Clinton’s personal White House physician, said the plus-sized politician “probably has incredible stamina. And that’s great, but you wonder what his blood pressure must be like, whether he has sleep apnea at night."

Christie responded to the doctor by calling her a "hack" who should "shut up" unless she examines him, telling reporters he was "making the best effort I can" to shed pounds.

Twitter reaction to Christie's decision to get lap-band surgery was mixed.

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