(Updates with interview comments in fifth paragraph.)
Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told Oprah Winfrey he feels guilty about being overweight and wishes for his family’s sake he could get his size under control.
Christie, 49, a first-term Republican, said the weight issue hurt him more when he was younger and that he has “developed a bit of a shell” about it in public life because it’s talked about more.
“The guilt that I feel is in regard to my children, like, that I wish that I could get better control of it, just for my own health, and my own future, with them,” Christie, a married father of four, said in an excerpt from an interview set to air Jan. 15 on Winfrey’s OWN cable network.
Winfrey, 57, left broadcast television to focus on OWN, which started in January 2011. She traveled to New Jersey for the interview with Christie, which will appear on her show “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” Winfrey has acknowledged her own struggles with weight.
Christie, who in October opted against running for president this year and has campaigned for Republican hopeful Mitt Romney, denied during the interview that his girth shows a lack of discipline.
In July, Christie was hospitalized for several hours for asthma after complaining of shortness of breath. He later told reporters he planned to exercise more and try to lose some pounds.
“I would love to show these people who say that because I’m overweight that means I’m not disciplined,” Christie told Winfrey. “They think you could get to where I am by being undisciplined? Let me show them.”
Christie, the first Republican elected New Jersey governor since 1997, saw his stature in the national party rise weeks after taking office in January 2010. He froze $2.2 billion in spending to close a midyear deficit, and then cut $10 billion in projected new spending for schools, pensions and towns. He sparred with teachers and other union members over benefits and pay, using YouTube videos of the battles to spread his message.
In recent weeks, Christie has traveled to New Hampshire and Iowa to stump for Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts.
Christie said during the interview that Congress is “at war with itself” over partisan issues, and President Barack Obama is the only one who can call a truce. Obama has called Winfrey a friend and appeared in the past on her syndicated talk show.
“Those who underestimate Barack Obama underestimate him at their own peril,” Christie told Winfrey. “He’s as good of a politician as I’ve ever seen.”
Christie, who is known for his blunt and caustic style, also spoke during the interview about his relationship with his deceased mother. He said he learned from her to leave “nothing unsaid.”
--Editors: Stacie Servetah, Ted Bunker
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To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp in Trenton at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at email@example.com -0- Jan/11/2012 18:33 GMT