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Editorial: Gov. Christie’s weight not off limits

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jokes Friday Feb. 8 2013 TrentN.J. as he says thpart state's preparedness for predicted snow

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jokes Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Trenton, N.J., as he says that part of the state's preparedness for a predicted snow storm should be for reporters to relax at home. A blizzard warning for northeast New Jersey called for as much as 14 inches of snow. Up to 10 inches were possible for most of the state, with 2 to 5 inches in south Jersey. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) ORG XMIT: NJME114

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Updated: March 11, 2013 6:44AM

If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to run for president in 2016 — and we hope he does — he had better figure out now what to say and do about his considerable extra weight.

Gov. Christie can’t have it both ways. He can’t laugh off the matter of his obesity one day, as he did on David Letterman’s show last Monday, and snarl about it the next, as he did two days later when he told a former White House doctor who mentioned his weight to “shut up.”

More than that, here’s hoping Christie actually slims down, as he says he’s trying to do. The doctor who annoyed him, Connie Mariano, was speaking the simple truth when she pointed out that the presidency is a highly stressful job and all those extra pounds could kill him.

Americans presume that a president’s health is their business. They don’t want any big secrets, as there were for FDR and JFK. That’s why later presidents have made public the results of their annual physicals.

Presidents are also, like it or not, role models for good health or bad. President George W. Bush set a good example with is regular jogging; President Barack Obama set a bad example with his covert smoking — let’s hope he’s quit.

About a third of all Americans are obese, carrying an extra 35 pounds or so.

If Christie goes for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, we can expect a primary battle that is far more honest and intelligent than what we saw last year. And Christie would give any Democrat in the general election, even one named Clinton, a real run for the money.

But if the governor is of a mind to run, he would be wise to start now, beginning with a slow jog.

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