Time's Christie cover: 'The Elephant in the Room'

This week's Time magazine features three articles on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose landslide re-election Tuesday "instantly christened him the GOP frontrunner for 2016." The issue includes an accompanying story by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who compares 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 writes. "And like Springsteen himself, Christie made it all look easy."

But it's the cover that's likely to get the most attention.

It 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 weight.

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 that 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.

And when asked by the Times if he would have trouble handling the rigors of a presidential campaign, Christie replied, “No more than any other 51-year-old person. I’m slower than I was when I was 40. But that’s the slow march of time."

The Nov. 18 issue with Christie on the cover is due on newsstands Friday.

Of course, it's not the first time Time has courted controversy.

Last year, the magazine sparked a firestorm with a cover featuring a 26-year-old woman breastfeeding her 3-year-old son.