The NJ's governor's race is being fiercely fought, with incumbent NJ Governor Jon Corzine (D) trying to hold onto the seat while challenger Chris Christie (R), a former U.S. Attorney, attempts to capitalize on the poor economy and possible Obama-discontent. Christie has been leading in polls, though Corzine has been catching up, so it's no wonder that the campaign ads are getting very nasty. So nasty that Corzine's campaign might be drawing excessive attention to Christie's physical appearance.
You've probably seen Corzine's ad, If (below), but the NY Times makes sure that readers who don't want to play the video get it: "It is about as subtle as a playground taunt: a television ad for Gov. Jon S. Corzine shows his challenger, Christopher J. Christie, stepping out of an S.U.V. in extreme slow motion, his extra girth moving, just as slowly, in several different directions at once. In case viewers missed the point, a narrator snidely intones that Mr. Christie 'threw his weight around' to avoid getting traffic tickets." Oh, and Corzine's ads show "unattractive images of Mr. Christie, sometimes shot from the side or backside, highlighting his heft, jowls and double chin."
Monmouth University's pollster Patrick Murray says that respondents frequently cite "fat" as one of the first things that comes to mind about Christie and subliminally "fat" might translate to "reckless," "As much as they might dislike the incumbent, they have to feel that the challenger is somewhat of a safe choice." Corzine is, the Times says, a "fitness buff," if bald.
Christie, who says he's lost 25 pounds recently, tells the Times, "It’s one of the more difficult things I’ve had to deal with in my life. But I don’t see how it’s relevant to my being governor.... It’s not like I didn’t think it would come up in the campaign in some context. But I think the governor has decided to overdo it. I think it’s silly, it’s stupid, and I don’t think anybody really cares about it."