New Jersey governor Chris Christie has been the subject of much political speculation in recent months, with both Democrats and Republicans wondering whether he’ll make a bid for the presidency. The one major obstacle? Christie’s weight. The media constantly debates whether possible health problems might keep him out of the big chair in the Oval Office. Christie has apparently taken on this issue; this past Tuesday, he revealed that he’d secretly had lap band surgery to lose weight.
Christie has been one of the more interesting possibilities as a Republican candidate, both despite and because of his seeming lack of rigid allegiance to his party.Republicans have to like Christie because, well, he’s a Republican. But Democrats like the way he occasionally dances on their side of the floor. No one, however, likes the idea of a President who might develop health problems while in office.
While Christie does not have any of the diseases typically associated with obesity, such as diabetes or hypertension, and has referred to himself as “the healthiest fat guy around,” everyone is aware that at his current weight, Christie is not a presidential contender. Hence, the lap band surgery. It’s less invasive and drastic than conventional weight-loss surgery, and Christie apparently recovered from the procedure over a long weekend – President’s Day weekend, to be exact. Hint, hint.
THE PR VERDICT: “B” (Good Show) for Chris Christie. He’s more willing than a Texan beauty pageant contestant to do what it takes to win.
THE PR TAKEAWAY: When issues are presented repeatedly and chip away at one’s PR, take action. Christie has tried joking his way out of charges that he’s too heavy to be a presidential contender. He tried saying he’s healthy. But when the issue blocking him from serious consideration for candidacy persisted, he took action. When charges won’t go away, they must be dealt with. The loss of an issue is a gain for positive PR.