TIMOTHY NOAH SEPTEMBER 30, 2011
The people have spoken. Averaging the 19 estimates offered by readers in TNR's comment section for this blog--including one that, annoyingly, required me to convert from kilograms to pounds--I arrive at a crowd-sourced weight estimate for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: 334 pounds.
I initially planned to lower the mean figure by 10 points to correct for liberal bias. But on reflection I think there are probably two biases at work here. One is the liberal one, which would drive the estimates up. The other is a demographic one, which would drive the estimates down. The sort of people who read the New Republic tend to be affluent brainworkers who eat healthy and run 10Ks on weekends and in general have little clue about how fat you can get eating fast-fried-food crap of the sort that no hard-charging, high-profile politician can easily avoid as he goes out and about cutting ribbons and pressing the flesh. Indeed, you could argue that the best argument against Christie's entering the race is that any deeper immersion into this toxic culture could threaten his health. The broasted Twinkies that get shoved down the gullets of presidential aspirants at county fairs might be enough to kill him.
Anyway, Chris Christie's crowd-sourced weight is 334 pounds. That will have to do until a better method (say, candidate disclosure) is found. Christie is 5 foot 11, so his Body Mass Index is 46.6. That's well into the dread class three obesity category. It's also worse than that of the reigning presidential BMI champion, William Howard Taft, whose BMI was estimated by George magazine at 42.3. Which means that if Christie got elected president he wouldn't just be the fattest president since Taft. He'd be the fattest president, like, ever.
But also possibly not. Clicking around the Web I see that weight estimates on Taft vary. Taft, who was half an inch taller than Christie, is sometimes said to have been 300 pounds, sometimes 320, and sometimes as much as 340. George's BMI of 42.3 for Taft appears to assume a weight of about 307 or 308, which is at the low end of the estimates. If Taft really was 340 then his BMI would be not 42.3 but 46.8. Which would just edge Christie out.
We'll continue to keep you posted as new developments break on this important story ...