Time magazine cover: Chris Christie, 'Elephant' -- clever or cruel?

Time magazine covers are no stranger to controversy. But did the latest one on Chris Christie go too far? 

After the Republican New Jersey governor and potential 2016 presidential contender coasted to reelection on Tuesday, the magazine put out a cover featuring his silhouette with the headline “The Elephant in the Room.”

There's a triple entendre there: The elephant is something obvious but  ignored. The elephant is the GOP symbol. And the elephant is also extra large and extra heavy.

So it works on several levels. But is it mean?

Christie’s weight has been the topic of conversation for some time, the ultimate question being whether he’s physically fit enough to be president.

Christie underwent lap band surgery in February – he said he did it for his family and not for political reasons – and he said he’d lost half the weight he hoped to lose.

But last year, Christie’s size was apparently a concern for then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney when he was picking a running mate. In the new book “Double Down,” about the 2012 presidential campaign, authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin reveal that Christie’s nickname in the Romney campaign was Pufferfish (they had nicknames for all the potential vice presidential candidates they were vetting to add a layer of secrecy to the project).

Romney also apparently “marveled at Christie's girth, his difficulties in making his way down the narrow aisle of the campaign bus.” Christie has said Romney apologized for the leaks about the vetting process.

Here are some other controversial Time covers. Apparently, for some people on Twitter, this one really did go too far.

Time magazine's cover about governor Christie's weight is so mean. I think he's awesome.

— Donna Parker (@dannalynn83) November 8, 2013

OMG is the Chris Christie Time magazine cover real?! #yikes

— Jackie S (@jax5230) November 7, 2013

Bipartisan ban on fat jokes, please.

— Irin Carmon (@irin) November 7, 2013

Time Executive Editor Michael Duffy defended the cover Thursday on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” according to Politico.

“Well, he’s obviously a big guy. He’s obviously a big Republican. But he’s also done a really huge thing here this week,” Duffy said. “He stood astride the Republican Party and said, ‘Stop. We don’t have to make our whole appeal about narrow base issues.’ And that campaign showed it with the demographics you talked about.”

What do you think – is the Time cover too mean? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet me @lauraelizdavis.


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