November 30th, 2010
04:45 PM ET

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?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/11/30/art.barbour.christie.jpg caption="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.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: 2012 Election
November 30th, 2010
04:40 PM ET

Denying Social Security for people earning more than $150,000?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As we await the final recommendations from President Obama's deficit commission, one Democratic-led policy group is out with its own bold proposal:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/11/30/art.soc.sec.card.jpg caption=""]
Bloomberg News reports that the think tank Third Way wants to trim or eliminate Social Security benefits for what they consider high-income retirees.

The plan is to boost monthly benefits for poorer retirees - while reducing them on a scale starting with individuals who have $150,000 in outside income or couples with $250,000.

Social Security benefits would be eliminated all together for individuals making $200,000 or couples with $400,000 in income. The group says people who don't need Social Security shouldn't get it.

This is despite the fact that these people have paid into Social Security throughout their working lives.

Third Way also wants to raise the retirement age, limit cost-of-living increases and help young workers create private retirement accounts.

Third Way says its proposal will come out after the deficit panel's report and is meant as a kind of cover for Congressional Democrats to support unpopular deficit-cutting measures.

Republicans have argued for raising the retirement age as well as limiting benefits for wealthier retirees. But most Democrats don't want to touch Social Security at all - when it comes to cutting the $13 trillion plus debt.

However, some Democrats do support cutting benefits. As Senator Kent Conrad put it: "Those who say don't touch it aren't dealing with reality."

As for that deficit commission, like we said yesterday here in the Cafferty File, don't bet on it. The panel now says it will delay the vote that was set for tomorrow until Friday, although they still plan to release the report tomorrow.

Here’s my question to you: Should people earning more than $150,000 be denied Social Security benefits?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Social Security