Chris Christie, Time

Dennis Van Tine / ABACA USA

The Nov. 18 issue of Time magazine is causing quite a controversy, as its cover features the silhouette of newly re-elected New Jersey Governor Chris Christie behind the headline: "The Elephant in the Room." Critics argue that it mocks the politician's self-admitted weight problems, while others believe it refers to his upcoming battle to win over the Republican Party before the 2016 presidential election.

Time writer Michael Scherer argues that the headline refers to Christie's larger-than-life persona. "It's not just about his physical size; it's about his whole political act," he tells CBS 2 New York.

Regardless of his intent, Scherer's piece isn't sitting well with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. "TIME MAGAZINE EDITOR is SLIMY SNAKE!" she tweeted on Thursday, Nov. 7. "Elephant, really? you know there was chuckling in the newsroom."

New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse also chimed in on Twitter, writing, "Whether or not one likes Christie, these cheap shots–like Time's new cover—about his weight are decidedly uncool."

Time's executive editor Michael Duffy defended the headline while chatting with MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday, Nov. 7. "Well, he's obviously a big guy. He's obviously a big Republican. But he's also done a really huge thing here this week. He stood astride the Republican Party and said, ‘Stop. We don't have to make our whole appeal about narrow base issues.' And that campaign showed it with the demographics you talked about."

The magazine's official Twitter account says its "new issue explores why Chris Christie was 'born to run'"—a reference to Chrisie's musical hero, New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen.

Christie secretly underwent lap-band surgery in February 2013 and disclosed it three months later.

In January 2013, 51-year-old Christie graced the cover of Time with the headline "The Boss," a play on his position as a governor and his love for Springsteen. It too drew criticism, as critics argued that the picture of Christie made him look like fictional mob boss Tony Soprano from HBO's the Sopranos.

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