- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hey, fat chance that a certain Garden State guy is going to eat his way right out of the 2016 election. Critics who hope New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has weight-related health issues that will squash a White House run need to find another complaint. Though his wife, Mary Pat, is the only one who knows exactly how many pounds her spouse has lost since undergoing lap-band surgery nine months ago, Mr. Christie has been getting consistently good medical reports in recent days, and he says he’s even sleeping better.

A noticeably leaner governor made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, dismissing a childish Time magazine cover that referred to him as “the elephant in the room.” Mr. Christie is more bearlike at this point, and could one day emerge as a lion — good for a roar, and seeking the proverbial big tent of voter support.

“If I’m bothered by jokes about my weight, it’s time for me to curl up into a fetal position and go home, OK? If they think that’s clever, great for them,” the governor, said on ABC’s “This Week” when confronted with the cover image on camera. “They run the magazine, they get to make the decisions.

“The way people in New Jersey look at this, their governor’s been on the cover of Time magazine twice in one year, we must be doing something right,” Mr. Christie concluded.

LEST ANYONE FORGET

“As we pay tribute to our veterans, we are mindful that no ceremony or parade can fully repay that debt. We remember that our obligations endure long after the battle ends, and we make it our mission to give them the respect and care they have earned. Under the most demanding of circumstances and in the most dangerous corners of the Earth, America’s veterans have served with distinction. With courage, self-sacrifice, and devotion to our nation and to one another, they represent the American character at its best.”

— From President Obama’s official proclamation recognizing Veterans Day.

AND IN SUMMATION

“That’s what makes America so great. We don’t forget those who fought for us.”

— Former senator and World War II veteran Bob Dole, 90, also reflecting about Veterans Day, on CNN.

KERRY’S TIDY TALKS

One observer suggests that Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s inconclusive negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons have proceeded as if they were tidy talks, say, about vacations and benefits.

“Contrary to Kerry’s rhetoric, this is not a labor negotiation in which both sides must be allowed to walk away with something and a solution always lies in splitting the difference between the two sides,” points out Jonathan Tobin, a columnist for Commentary magazine.

“Any Iranian deal that doesn’t definitively end their chance of building a weapon, whether via uranium or plutonium, is a scam, not a diplomatic triumph. Insistence on this point doesn’t make the deal’s critics warmongers. It makes them realists,” Mr. Tobin adds.

Lawmakers will be parsing the situation Wednesday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing examining the negotiations, and the state of Iran after President Hassan Rouhani’s first 100 days in office.

“Instead of toughening sanctions to get meaningful and lasting concessions, the Obama administration looks to be settling for interim and reversible steps,” observes Rep. Edward R. Royce, committee chairman.

“A partial freeze of enrichment, as we’re hearing, is not a freeze. As called for in U.N. Security Council resolutions, all of Iran’s enrichment — the key bomb-making technology — should be ceased,” the California Republican continues. “We now run the risk of seriously weakening the sanctions structure painstakingly built up against Iran over years. Once weakened, it will be harder to ratchet up the economic pressure on Iran than it will be for the Iranians to ratchet up their nuclear program.”

FILIBLUSTER

She will join Valerie Plame, James Carville and Mike Tyson, all authors under one publisher. That would be Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, whose 11-hour filibuster against an abortion bill while wearing pink sneakers riled Republicans and fixated Democrats. She has signed on with Blue Rider Press, an imprint of the giant Penguin Group, to write a memoir due on shelves in a year.

The publisher frames her filibuster as a stand “against legislation that hurts Texas women and their families,” noting that Ms. Davis will offer personal details about her life as a public servant.

“Everyone deserves to have a say in their future,” Ms. Davis says.

NOT QUITE READY FOR FROSTY

Local radio stations in New York, New Jersey and Washington state began playing Christmas and holiday music during the first week of October. Many more stations have followed suit. The theory is that such seasonal cheer is a ratings and revenue boon. But is it? Americans say “bah, humbug” to such programming, says Cricket Wireless, the phone service provider, which asked more than 1,000 would-be Scrooges their opinion on it all.

They found that 55 percent of 30- to 44-year-olds disapproved of playing the music before Thanksgiving, along with two-thirds of the 45- to 65-year-old set and a curmudgeonly 71 percent of those older than 65. Only those younger than 30 seemed more tolerant: 44 percent said they were fine with “Jingle Bells,” even before Halloween.

DEMOCRATIC DOLDRUMS

From our That’s a Shame Desk comes this report from the Pew Research Center on the numerical woes of President Obama:

“Barack Obama has had a difficult year since his re-election victory. A new national survey from the Pew Research Center finds his overall job rating stands at 41 percent, down 14 points since last December. A majority (53 percent) now disapproves of the way he is handling his job as president,” the pollster says.

There are predictable divides: 88 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats agree with this.

The lowest disapproval ratings of all among the 68 demographic groups that were measured was 10 percent among “liberal Democrats” and 12 percent among “non-Hispanic blacks,” Pew reports.

And what’s this? Mr. Obama’s drop in approval is even a little worse than what former President George W. Bush experienced back in the day. “A year after Bush’s re-election, 36 percent approved of his job performance, down from 48 percent in December 2004,” Pew Reports.

POLL DU JOUR

50 percent of U.S. voters would choose Hillary Rodham Clinton and 33 percent would choose Sen. Ted Cruz in a theoretical 2016 presidential match-up;85 percent of Democrats would pick Mrs. Clinton and 65 percent of Republicans would choose Mr. Cruz.

48 percent overall would choose Mrs. Clinton and 39 percent would choose Jeb Bush in a theoretical match-up;81 percent of Democrats would pick Mrs. Clinton and 75 percent of Republicans would choose Mr. Bush.

44 percent overall would choose Mrs. Clinton and 39 percent would choose New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a theoretical match-up; 80 percent of Democrats would pick Mrs. Clinton and 72 percent of Republicans would choose Mr. Christie.

38 percent overall would vote for Vice President Joseph R. Biden and 45 percent would vote for Mr. Christie, if that was the theoretical match-up.

Source: A Public Policy Survey of 649 U.S. voters conducted Oct. 29 to 31 and released Friday.

Oorahs, hooahs, hooyahs, hoorahs to jharper@washingtontimes.com.