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Chris Christie Dishes To Oprah About Weight, Love, Politics

Date January 12, 2012
Chris Christie Dishes To Oprah About Weight, Love, Politics

-- Time to steal the doughnuts!

Apparently, that's also the way to steal New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's heart.

In an interview with talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey, set to air this weekend, the hefty GOP governor said he knew that he had found a partner for life in wife Mary Pat when she suggested making an illicit late-night doughnut run.

The governor and Winfrey also dished about their struggle with weight and presidential politics. A full transcript of the interview was obtained in advance by The Associated Press. The hour-long interview, filmed at Christie's home in Mendham, is scheduled to air Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Asked by Winfrey what drew him to Mary Pat, whom he met at the University of Delaware in the 1980s when they were both involved in student government, he said it was her independence, her faith, and because she was fun.

"She was fun in a different way than I'd ever experienced with anybody I'd ever dated. She was very spontaneous," Christie told Winfrey.

"Spontaneous like?" Winfrey asked.

"Let's go break into the kitchen in the dining hall at college because we smell that they are baking doughnuts for the next morning," he recalled Mary Pat saying. "So let's sneak in and steal some of the doughnuts now."

Christie and Winfrey spoke at length about controlling their weight and managing the criticism surrounding it; specifically what it feels like to be on the short end of a Dave Letterman fat joke.

"It didn't bother you?" Winfrey asked. "Because let me tell you, when David Letterman was making jokes about me, it bothered me."

"I think I was girded for it, Oprah, I really do," Christie responded, saying he had developed "a shell about it."

The conversation also hit more serious overtones as Winfrey asked him, Mary Pat and their four children – Andrew, 18, Sarah, 15, Patrick, 11, and Bridget, 8 – about the pressure of being asked to run for president.

Sarah lamented to Winfrey about being banned from having a Facebook page.

"By the way, who backed us up on you not having a Facebook account?" Christie pointed out.

"Mark Zuckerberg," co-creator of the social networking site, Sarah answered, reluctantly.

Christie, Zuckerberg and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, appeared on Winfrey's talk show in September 2010 to announce that Facebook was pledging a $100 million donation to the Newark public schools.

Christie said he wanted his daughter to wait until she was a little older, given his position, so that she can better handle the "opportunity for mischief" that Facebook provides – a position he said Zuckerberg supported.

While Booker, who has been rumored as a potential candidate to run against Christie in 2013, is close to Winfrey and her best friend, Gayle King, Christie met the daytime icon for the first time at the taping of the show about Facebook's donation.

Christie had been in office less than a year when he first met Winfrey. Elected in a Democratic-leaning New Jersey 2009, Christie quickly became YouTube sensation and darling of the Republican party for his blunt style, and pressure quickly mounted for him to run for the White House in 2012. He briefly considered changing his mind against running this fall, but didn't and instead endorsed Mitt Romney, whom he has been campaigning hard for ever since.

Winfrey, who openly endorsed Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential elections, asked Christie what advice Christie he had for the president and what he thought Obama's chances for re-election were.

Surprisingly, Christie warned that those who underestimate Obama as a campaigner do so at their own peril.

"He is as good a politician as I've ever seen ... he's really good at it. And I think he's very charismatic. And I think he's genuine. I think what he says he believes he believes. That's a very dangerous politician."

But Christie was quick to say that Obama was weak in governing, and needed to work on his relationships with adversaries – something Christie has credited with helping him pass major changes to New Jersey's pension and health benefits systems.

"If he had asked me a year ago, I would have said, "So, Mr. President, make John Boehner your best friend in the whole world. Have him over for dinner. Have him for golf regularly. Call him on the phone talk, to him, charm him, make him your pal."

So why didn't he run for the White House himself?

Christie said he wasn't sure that his "true compass" thought he was ready.

"Is that compass telling you that you may be ready four years from now?" Winfrey asked.

"Who knows? It depends on who wins. Is the president re-elected? Does a Republican win? I don't know," Christie said. "But in terms of me, I'll be much more ready four years from now than I am now."

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