Cafferty File

Can a fat man be elected president?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Forget all the talk about the United States electing an African-American or a woman as president... what about a fat man?

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (L) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R).

This idea comes to us courtesy of a Daily Beast column by Lloyd Grove, who talks about the "proliferation of tough, smart, and decidedly chubby Republican contenders." People like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Grove writes that the rise of these politicians could mean the "imperially slim presidential stereotype might be losing political currency."

Experts suggest that in the past, Americans have seen their presidential candidates as "lean, mean fighting machines." They point out there are plenty of studies that show people pick the best-looking candidates when they know nothing else about them.

But, in light of the staggering problems this country faces, maybe it's time to go for a new approach.

When Christie ran for governor of New Jersey, it was his opponent who made weight an issue. Democrat Jon Corzine ran a TV ad accusing Christie of "throwing his weight around," but in the end, it backfired. Christie said Corzine should "Man up and say I'm fat." Christie won the election.

As for Barbour, he likes to joke about his extra pounds, saying things like, "I don't sweat much for a fat boy." A Barbour spokesman says at some point people have to decide whether they're electing the candidate most qualified to lead the country, or if the election is a beauty pageant.

Certainly something to chew on. Pun intended.

Here’s my question to you: Can a fat man be elected president?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

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