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The Weighty Issue That's Still a Drag on Chris Christie
PHOTO: Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie  waves as he celebrates his election victory in Asbury Park, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, after defeating Democratic challenger Barbara Buono.

The day after his landslide re-election as governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie was swamped with questions about the next race he might run.

"It's complimentary. It's flattering, and I have no problem with it," Christie said at a news conference in Union City, N.J., on Wednesday, responding to speculation about his potential 2016 presidential bid. "But I want to be really clear about this: I have a job to do. I got re-elected to do a job last night, and that's the job I'm going to do."

But almost as ubiquitous as the chatter about Christie's White House ambitions are the whispers about another major issue: his weight.

It is, as the editors of Time magazine put it in the cover story of its new issue that came out Thursday, "the elephant in the room."

How @GovChristie can win over the GOP http://t.co/80JZk6e5uB pic.twitter.com/fMIODhF4iF

— TIME.com (@TIME) November 7, 2013

Time's I-see-what-you-did-there cover, which shows Christie in silhouette, instantly lit up social media and blogs.

New Jersey's largest newspaper, the Star-Ledger, asked: "Time magazine's Chris Christie cover: Cheap shot at his weight?"

The Los Angeles Times chimed in: "Chris Christie as 'The Elephant': Cruelty as a political issue."

And Salon.com didn't mince words: "Time magazine makes a fat joke for its cover on Chris Christie."

Meanwhile, Mediaite collected a slew of unfavorable tweets about Time's approach, declaring: "Twitter Is Not Amused by Time's Chris Christie 'Elephant' Cover."

Long-time political writer Karen Tumulty, formerly with Time, currently with the Washington Post:

.@TIME @GovChristie Love my old employer, but this cover line is lazy, stupid. And compare to this: http://t.co/xseXhAH8i8

— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) November 7, 2013

And Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren was even more blunt:

TIME MAGAZINE EDITOR is SLIMY SNAKE ! Elephant, really? you know there was chuckling in the newsroom #Christie http://t.co/xVyFPR1P1O

— Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) November 7, 2013

Even Time's own political blog was eventually forced to acknowledged the kerfluffle, "TIME's 'Elephant' Cover Stirs Big Reaction."

The uproar aside, with Christie about to embark on his second term and the 2016 presidential election just three years away, the issue of Christie's weight is sure to continue making headlines.

Mitt Romney recently weighed in, so to speak, in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" in which he talked about the vice presidential vetting process in 2012: "With regards to his health, he provided his health records to us. His health is very solid, very good. There's not an issue there."

And Christie, himself, spoke openly about his weight-loss progress post-lap band surgery, telling CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview this week that he is more than halfway to his goal.

"For the first time in 25 years I feel like I've got a pathway, which is really nice," Christie said. "Really nice not to be as frustrated as I was before."

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