I happened to speak this morning to the obesity guru David Kessler, a former F.D.A. chief and author of the best-selling "The End of Overeating," and he was highly critical of Jon Corzine, the governor of New Jersey, for mocking his opponent's weight. Christopher Christie, Corzine's Republican challenger, has become the target of snide ads and comments that highlight his girth. This is what Kessler told me:

"This ad reflects a total lack of understanding, empathy and tolerance. No one should be criticized for being overweight. We're all wired to respond to different stimuli -- sex, gambling, alcohol, illegal drugs -- and for many people it's food. I would rather have this problem than some of these other problems. Some of the world's greatest leaders, from Winston Churchill to Ted Kennedy, struggled with their weight. This struggle has nothing to do with leadership abilities. It doesn't translate into a lack of control in any other part of a person's life.  In any case, voters identify with people  who are honest and open about their struggles. To be cruel to someone because of this struggle is just unacceptable. It shows a lack of understanding about human nature, and about the environment in which we live."

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