New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addressed the controversy surrounding this week’s cover of TIME, which called him the “Elephant in the Room,” in a series of appearances on the Sunday morning political talk shows.
“Oh, who cares,” Christie told Fox News Sunday‘s Chris Wallace about the cover’s reference to his size. ”I mean, seriously. I’m on the cover of TIME magazine, you know? It is certainly not the first weight joke that has been thrown my way over the course of the last four years, Chris. So, you know, it doesn’t matter to me. I haven’t seen the issue yet. I mean, I’ve just seen the cover. I haven’t read the issue yet. It doesn’t matter to me. It really doesn’t. And if you’re going to be bothered by that kind of stuff, then you don’t belong in public leadership. They can say whatever they like. It’s fine by me.”
ABC News This Week host George Stephanopoulos elicited a similar response when he asked the famously outspoken governor about the issue.
“You know, George, if I’m bothered by jokes about my weight, it’s time for me to curl up into the fetal position and go home, OK? I — and the fact is that, you know, if they think that’s clever, great for them,” Christie said. “I mean, they run the magazine. They get to make the decisions.”
He added that the people of his state should view his placement on the cover as a sign that he is turning around New Jersey:
Here’s the thing with the way the people of New Jersey look at this. Their governor’s been on the cover of TIME magazine twice in one year. We must be doing something right. And the fact is that they reaffirmed what we did and what our strategy was for the last four years — go everywhere, show up, govern and make decisions. Not go just to the place where they vote for you, but go to the places where they haven’t voted for you.
I did a town hall in Irvington — the city of Irvington, New Jersey. Four-point-seven percent of the vote is what I got in 2009. When I did it at this Baptist church, there were more people in the church than voted for me from that town in 2009. You go places where people need to hear you and, more importantly, you need to hear them.
That’s the way you grow and expand the political movement. That’s how you get the kind of numbers we got on Tuesday night. People in New Jersey are proud of me. Whatever they put on the cover of TIME Magazine, as long as my name’s with it, I could care less.