Tahlequah Daily Press

Get the scoop!

May 9, 2013

Christie weight-loss step may be key to a presidential campaign

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's acknowledgment of having secret stomach surgery may reassure voters who've wondered whether he's fit to be president.

The governor, who has struggled with excess pounds for most of his adult life, told reporters in Newark Tuesday that he had the procedure Feb. 16 for the benefit of himself, his wife, Mary Pat, and their children. He denied it was a political move.

"Just because I have a public office and I have some measure of notoriety doesn't mean that my feelings about my family and my concerns about their future are any different than yours," Christie said. "I did it because I want to try to put myself, as I get older, in the best position I can be to spend as much great time with them as I possibly can."

The 50-year-old governor is running to win a second term in November. He turned down fundraisers' overtures to embark on a 2012 presidential campaign less than two years ago, saying, "Now is not my time." Christie hasn't ruled out a 2016 bid.

"He has to realize that it's a lot easier to run for president if you can actually run," said Matthew Hale, who teaches politics at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. "It also has to be in the back of his mind that the physical requirements of walking through Iowa county fairs and things like that really are not easy."

Christie, who's about 6 feet tall, hasn't publicly disclosed his weight and didn't say how much he may have lost since February. He said he considered the matter personal, and his family "is not thrilled" that the surgery, first reported by the New York Post, became public.

The governor said he used a false name when he checked in for the 40-minute surgical procedure at New York University Langone Medical Center's Weight Management Program in Manhattan. The operation was covered by his state health insurance, he said. He wouldn't say what his out-of-pocket costs were.

He went into the hospital at 7:30 a.m. and was home in Mendham at 5 p.m., he said. He didn't transfer his state powers to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.

Christie said he spoke with coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets before having the surgery. Ryan underwent the procedure in 2010, performed by surgeon George Fielding, and lost almost a third of his weight, according to the Post. Christie had Fielding do his operation.

A telephone call to the doctor's office was referred to Craig Andrews, a hospital spokesman, who declined to comment. Jets spokesman Bruce Speight didn't respond to a voice message and email seeking comment.

"It is a long-term health issue for me, and that is the basis on which I made the decision," Christie said Tuesday. "It's not a career issue."

Physical fitness for presidents and candidates for the office has been stressed by advisers since at least the administration of Gerald R. Ford, the Republican who replaced Richard M. Nixon in the White House in 1974. Ford, caught on camera as he stumbled on the Air Force One steps, was mocked for "being a klutz," said Peter Woolley, who teaches politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J.

"The White House countered and said, 'What are you talking about?'" Woolley said by telephone. "This guy's an athlete. He was a Division I football player."

Al Gore, Democrat Bill Clinton's vice president, and Mike Huckabee, the Republican former Arkansas governor, both lost pounds before campaigning unsuccessfully for president. Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who survived torture in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp and three bouts with skin cancer, was dogged by health questions before Democrat Barack Obama beat him in the 2008 presidential race.

On Feb. 4, less than two weeks before Christie had his surgery, he appeared on CBS Corp.'s "Late Show with David Letterman," munching a doughnut as a gag. He told the comedian that he had normal cholesterol and sugar levels in his blood, calling himself "basically the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life."

 His comments led a former White House physician, Connie Mariano, to tell CNN that the governor's weight put him at risk of heart attack, stroke or death. Christie responded by calling the doctor a "hack" and telling her to "shut up" because she hadn't examined him.

For Christie, the prime political benefit now is that he "owns and controls" the story of his weight, said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J.

"Why give voters fodder for questions of your ability to serve, whether that means your physical fitness or ability to keep yourself under control?" Murray said by telephone. "You can't get around the fact that being overweight raises questions in people's minds, whether that's right or wrong."

Christie's weight hasn't been an issue to most New Jersey voters recently. In a Quinnipiac University poll released March 26, 64 percent of 1,129 of those asked said they were comfortable with the governor's girth.

 In July 2011, Christie went to a hospital for emergency treatment of his chronic asthma and told reporters when he was discharged that his weight "exacerbates everything."

More than 500 million people worldwide are obese, according to the World Health Organization. About 200,000 Americans undergo weight-loss surgery each year, and roughly a third choose gastric banding, involving small rubber devices that constrict part of the stomach.

              

1
Text Only
Get the scoop!
  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end _with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers - but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 14, 2014

  • An alternative diagnosis to ADHD: Schoolchildren need more time to move

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that in recent years, there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2011.

    July 14, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran
Stocks