Nightly News   |  February 06, 2013

Christie calls former White House doctor ‘irresponsible’

After Connie Mariano, Bill Clinton’s former doctor, commented to CNN about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s weight, Christie accused her of speaking out of turn.  Christie admonished Mariano for making a diagnosis without ever examining him or having access to his records. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> the body weight of the governor of new jersey is making national news tonight, in part because he has joked about it. he has talked about his struggle in a forthright way. but now the story also includes a former white house physician who happens to be a fan of the governor and what she said about the governor's weight that got his attention. our report tonight from nbc 's andrea mitchell .

>> basically, the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life.

>> reporter: chris christie has heard it all before . he's overweight. he's heard and seen all the jokes. many on david letterman .

>> the only organization to --

>> reporter: so for this week's face-to-face with dave, christie came armed with not one but two jelly doughnuts.

>> i have made jokes about you, not just one or two. not just ongoing here or there, intermittent. but --

>> i didn't know this was going to be this long.

>> reporter: it's a constant challenge, the governor acknowledged again yesterday.

>> the idea that somehow, you know, i don't care about this. of course i care about it. and i'm making the best effort i can.

>> reporter: but then bill clinton 's former white house doctor, a retired navy rear admiral weighed in on cnn.

>> i'm a republican. so i like chris christie a lot. i want him to run. i just want him to lose weight . i'm a physician more than i'm a democrat or republican and i worry about this man dying in office.

>> reporter: to the governor and his family, that was no joke. so he called the doctor today to sound off.

>> that a doctor in arizona w has never met me, never examined me, never reviewed my medical history or records, knows nothing about my family history , could make a diagnosis from 2,400 miles away is completely irresponsible. my children saw that last night. and she sat there on tv and said i'm afraid he's going to die in office. my 12-year-old son comes up to me last night and says, "dad, are you going to die?"

>> reporter: like christie, millions of americans, more than one-third of adults in the u.s., struggle with their weight. just look at the popularity of nbc 's "biggest loser" and the first lady's "let's move" campaign.

>> keep it up!

>> reporter: tonight, dr. mariano replied, it doesn't take a physician to look at him to observe he's overweight. a healthy debate the governor seems to enjoy, up to a point. andrea mitchell , nbc news, washington.