Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie celebrates his election victory in Asbury Park, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, after defeating Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says Time magazine's depiction of him as an elephant doesn't bother him.
"If I'm bothered by jokes about my weight, it's time for me to crawl up into a fetal position and go home," Christie said on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday. "The fact is, that, you know, if they think it's clever, great for them."
The magazine, published last week, shows a shadowy silhouette of Christie's profile above the coverline "The Elephant in the Room," a reference to both the Republican Party's mascot and the GOP hopeful's heft. Some critics called it a cheap shot.
"The way the people of New Jersey look at this, their governor has been on the cover of Time magazine twice in one year," Christie said. "We must be doing something right. And the fact is that they reaffirmed what we did and what our strategy was for the last four years: Go everywhere, show up, govern and make decisions. Not just go to the places where they vote for you, but go to the places where they haven't voted for you. ... That's the way you grow and expand the political movement. That's how you get the kind of numbers we got on Tuesday night. People in New Jersey are proud of me. Whatever they put on the cover of Time magazine, as long as my name is with it, I could care less."
The issue features three articles on Christie, whose landslide re-election on Tuesday "instantly christened him the GOP front-runner for 2016." It includes an accompanying story by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who compared Christie to Ronald Reagan and Bruce Springsteen.
"For a pro-life conservative running in a deep blue state, it was a performance every bit as dominant as the Boss ripping through a live version of 'Rosalita,'" Scarborough wrote. "And like Springsteen himself, Christie made it all look easy."
Christie's weight has long been tied to his political ambitions, with some fearing it could be a health concern for voters.
According to "Double Down," a new book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann about the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican nominee Mitt Romney passed on picking Christie as a vice presidential running mate in part because of his weight.
But the governor has since taken steps to shed pounds.
Christie underwent lap-band surgery in February. On Tuesday, he told The New York Times he is more than halfway to meeting his weight-loss goal and he's sleeping better as a result. "I didn’t realize how badly I was sleeping being that much overweight," Christie said. (His appetite is so small these days, he said, he "recently could not even finish a wrap sandwich.")
He's also long poked fun at his outsized frame. In February, he said his weight is "fair game" for comedians. In an appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman" earlier this year, Christie consumed a doughnut during the interview.