Chris Christie: How healthy is his political future?

There are concerns that Christie’s weight would impede a presidential run. “We have to make sure that the person elected is going to be able to serve effectively and is not going to be taken out of action,” said David Birdsell.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was admitted to the hospital yesterday after struggling to breathe on his way to a bill-signing in Hillsborough, N.J.

The governor, 48, who suffers from asthma and has not been shy in publicly discussing his weight battles, was taken to the hospital “out of an abundance of caution,” his spokesman said.

But the scare caused some to reflect on how Christie’s health — and more poignantly, his weight — might be a strike against him on the national stage as a possible presidential candidate.

“These are not trivial concerns,” said David Birdsell, dean of Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. “Campaigning for president is physically grueling. Even the most energetic people find it difficult — the volume of travel, to go with so little sleep.”

Some may not think the GOP heavyweight has the vigor for the nation’s top office, Birdsell said.
“Rightly or wrongly, significant weight problems are often seen as indications of underlying ill health,” Birdsell said.

Candidates know fitness is important, said Randall Miller, a political science professor at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “Presidents play to the idea and give out annual physicals that show they are physically fit.”

Miller said that when Christie sheds significant pounds, it will be a sign he’s interested in higher office.

“He’ll want to trim down a bit, to convey the sense of self-mastery,” he said.

How does Christie stack up?

How does Chris Christie stack up to William Howard Taft, our biggest President? Metro web editor Nate Jones takes a look:

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro


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