Is being fat a political liability? That’s one of the questions I explore in the current issue of New York, in my a piece on the nasty New Jersey governor’s race between Chris Christie and Jon Corzine. Christie, the former US Attorney for New Jersey, is to put it generously, a large man. Corzine, who has been trailing in the polls until recently, has run a slate of television advertisements that show Christie’s unflattering girth. One ad even goes literal, claiming Christie “threw his weight around” as a federal prosecutor to get out of traffic tickets. From the piece:
Christie lacks the easy charm of a traditional front-runner. For one, he’s fat. In a state where dirty politics competes with the Jets as the favored spectator sport, Christie’s weight has become fodder during a race that has been intensely personal and nasty, at times comically so. “He looks hideous! And unhealthy,” says longtime Democratic state senator Ray Lesniak. “That doesn’t portray the discipline that’s necessary to lead this state.” This summer, the Corzine campaign ran an unflattering television spot that featured slow-motion shots of Christie’s massive gut after members of a focus group responded that they were turned off by his tubby physique. “They chose to run with the ad because people were appalled by his obesity,” one Democrat close to the Corzine campaign told me. In September, another Corzine ad took a more direct approach, saying that Christie “threw his weight around” as prosecutor. Comella says the ad “is clearly part of an overarching strategy to personally attack Chris Christie.” The Corzine campaign denies this. “The ad’s only purpose was to show how Chris Christie used his position as U.S. Attorney to get out of traffic stops,” responds Corzine’s spokesperson, Sean Darcy.
Read the full piece HERE