Feb. 7, 2013 at 9:49 AM ET
Chris Christie has proven he can handle jokes and the running commentary about his weight. But the New Jersey governor drew the line at remarks by a former White House doctor who expressed concern over him “dying in office” because of his health.
“I find it fascinating that a doctor in Arizona who's never met me, never examined me, never reviewed my history or medical records, knows nothing about my family history could make a diagnosis from 2,400 miles away,” Christie said Wednesday.
“She must be a genius.”
Christie was responding to comments made by former White House physician Connie Mariano. The former doctor to Democrat Bill Clinton described herself as a Republican and a Christie fan who would like to see the governor run for higher office. But she also said she wants Christie to lose weight before his health suffers.
“I'm a physician more than I'm a Democrat or a Republican. And I'm worried about this man dying in office,” she said during a CNN interview.
Christie called the remarks careless.
“She should shut up,” he said when asked about it during a news conference Wednesday in a town devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
“My 12-year-old son came to me last night and said ‘Dad, are you going to die?’ I mean, c'mon. This is irresponsible stuff,” he said.
Mariano, a retired Navy rear admiral, defended her comments Wednesday, saying "it doesn’t take a physician to look at him and observe that he’s overweight.”
Christie has been open about his longtime struggle with keeping his weight in check. He tackled the issue during an appearance Monday on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” when he pulled out a doughnut from his coat and ate it.
But he told Letterman that despite his weight, his cholesterol level and other health factors were good.
“I'm basically the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life,” he said.