'TIME': Chris Christie is a "Big Guy"

After a lot of public outcry over TIME magazine's new Chris Christie cover "An Elephant in the Room," TIME Executive Editor Michael Duffy appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss his editorial judgement — or lack thereof. Outrage ensued when the cover was unveiled this week, with many saying it was little more than cheap shot shrouded by positive coverage. Take for example: how deliberately unflattering the profile was, how the entendre imbued in the headline isn't clever in its spitefulness, and how it's apparently still okay to fat-shame.

Duffy's preliminary choice of words to defend the cover were, perhaps, not the best.

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.

That's all well and good, but um, what's with that first sentence? TIME is obviously well aware of the fat joke, but (shocker) they don't seem to be too sensitive to it. The rest of Duffy's explanation doesn't really address what's controversial about the cover at all — he basically said that Christie had run a really successful campaign (which he did), managed to get a voter base Republicans don't often get (Latinos), and tried to campaign on a broader platform than most Republicans do (yup, we know). All in all, a brilliant job and one that's leading some to think he's up for the 2016 GOP presidential bid.

What Duffy didn't address is why TIME still had to take a shot at his weight. As Bustle wrote:

Is it, perhaps, because we have become more conscious of health and healthy eating, and thus are quick to assume that anyone overweight must be unhealthy and unfit and thus unable to govern a state? Or have we just become SO obsessed with weight that we cannot even put it aside when considering who is going to run our government? Because if that’s the case, people should be looking for their governors or presidents on the CW.

Well, at least the issue's only out for a week.