UNION BEACH, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie, who has acknowledged to Barbara Walters he’s “more than a little” overweight and munched on a jelly doughnut on David Letterman‘s talk show, is addressing his weight issues head-on. Speculation is intensifying that he’s positioning himself to run for president in 2016.
“If you talked to anybody who has struggled with their weight, what they would tell you is ‘every week, every month, every year, there’s a plan,'” Christie said Tuesday, a day after appearing with Letterman, who has used the Republican governor’s midsection as a punch line since he took office in 2010. “The idea that somehow I don’t care about this, of course I care about it, and I’m making the best effort I can.”
Christie, 50, acknowledged dieting has been a regular part of his life for 30 years.
“Sometimes I’m successful, and other times I’m not,” he said. “And sometimes, periods of great success are followed by periods of great failure.”
Christie has never revealed his weight or released his medical records, and he bristled when his size came up during the 2009 governor’s race. An ad by incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine accused Christie, a former federal prosecutor, of “throwing his weight around.”
Christie found himself addressing the issue again on Tuesday, when a reporter asked whether the people who elected him should worry about his health because of his weight.
Christie said he’s “remarkably healthy” and proved his fitness for the job by working 18-hour days after Superstorm Sandy.
He gave a similar answer when Walters asked him in December during her “Most Influential People” special if he was too fat to be president.
“That’s ridiculous,” he responded.
Christie, who is widely mentioned as a possible presidential candidate as his national reputation has grown since the storm, had one health scare during his first term: an asthma attack on a humid summer morning in 2011. It diverted him from a scheduled press conference at a farm to a hospital. He addressed the press when he was discharged hours later, saying the heat, not his weight, contributed to the attack but vowing dietary modifications.
“I weigh too much because I eat too much,” he said then.
He said Tuesday “there is a plan” for his weight.
“Whether it’s successful or not,” he said, “you’ll all be able to notice.”
Christie recited two of Letterman’s fat jokes while appearing on CBS‘ “Late Show” on Monday night and told the comedian his laugh lines about his weight were funny “about 40 percent” of the time.