Updated: February 21, 2014 6:14AM
If he can pull it off, Chris Christie is presidential material, says the Fat Nag. I’m not talking about overcoming the rolling investigations, allegations and predictions emerging from the twin “BridgeGate” and “SandyGate” scandals.
Christie must get the fat out.
In recent weeks, Christie has been a massive punching bag. The newly re-elected governor of New Jersey has been pummeled with nasty media coverage and burgeoning federal and state investigations over the conduct of his staff and allegations that he misused Hurricane Sandy funds. Critics charge he’s a vengeful, recklessly ambitious bully. It could deep-six his expected 2016 presidential bid.
But Christie is on one right track. He is shrinking, slowly but surely. The Fat Nag has noticed. That’s yours truly, the longtime crusader charged with encouraging, badgering, exhorting against the fat.
America is in the grip of an obesity epidemic. More than one-third of U.S. adults, or 35.7 percent, are obese, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity kills through related conditions, from heart disease to cancer.
Since Christie hit the national scene, there have been whispers about his weight. He won’t reveal the number, but you don’t need a scale. Just look at him.
His morbid obesity has been a political thorn in his massive side. In 2012, when the GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney considered Christie as a possible running mate, concerns arose about his weight and health, according to the book, “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
Last February, Christie got religion. At that time, experts estimated his girth at 350 lbs. He underwent lap-band surgery, which reduces food intake in the stomach and jump-starts weight loss.
Speculation was rampant that he was getting in shape for 2016. Christie said it was personal. “I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years. For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them,” he told the New York Post.
He also said at a press conference, “I’m making the best effort I can, and sometimes I’m successful, and other times I’m not. …so far, up to 50 years old, I’ve been remarkably healthy. And my doctor continues to warn me that my luck is going to run out relatively soon, so believe me it’s something that I’m very conscious of.”
In October, his doctor told CBS News her patient was “losing weight steadily.”
Christie gets it. Take a gander at the then/now Christie portraits online. In a September interview with CBS, he declared he is “more than halfway” to his goal. He follows a healthy diet, he said, and exercises four days a week.
It’s the toughest thing he’ll ever do. He must regain his health under the harsh spotlight of excruciating professional and political pressures. That will take a monstrous amount of discipline, determination, sacrifice, and endurance. Christie could inspire others. What more could you want in a president?
Only he can do it. If he fails, he can’t blame it on his aides, his political enemies, or fate. Failing is not an option. There are more important things than being president.
The Nag is rooting for him.