Would We Ever Elect the Fat Guy?

Americans find hefty politicians hard to swallow
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 30, 2011 2:25 AM CDT
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(Newser) – Is Chris Christie too fat for the White House? His extra girth could serve him well in an election—to a point. It makes him look like one of the gang, if the gang is the growing number of obese Americans. And his pounds prove he's a guy not listening to the diet nags of the "nanny state," a plus for Tea Party fans. It's also ... different. "People want something different, something out of the ordinary, someone who is willing to stand up and confront problems," political consultant John McLaughlin tells ABC News. "Being a picture-perfect candidate I don't think is as important anymore."

But it's been 100 years since our last hefty prez, William Howard Taft, tipped the scales at more than 300 pounds. We have a monster prejudice against fat people. "Overweight people have much less of a chance of getting a job, they have much less of a chance of keeping a job, they are paid less than those who are thin," says David Birdsell of the School of Public Affairs at New York's Baruch College. "In this era of exercise, we impute moral failings to people who don't rein in their weight. Those prejudices are just intensified for people who seek elected office." Then, there's the potentially deadly impact of his extra weight—not good for him, or the nation. "I’d like to offer him a bit of unsolicited, nonpartisan, sincere advice," writes Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post. "Eat a salad and take a walk." (Read more politics stories.)

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