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Time Magazine Cover Featuring Chris Christie Raises Eyebrows

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Is it a play on words or a put-down?

Time Magazine revealed its cover for this week's issue, which hits newsstands Friday, features a silhouette of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with the headline "The Elephant in the Room."

The magazine features three articles about Christie and the Republican party. The lead article dubs Christie "the GOP's most serious 2016 contender." Christie, who has famously struggled with his weight, revealed in May that he underwent gastric band surgery.

Time Magazine 'Elephant In The Room' Christie Cover
The Nov. 18, 2013 cover of Time magazine. (credit: Time Magazine)

Time writer Michael Scherer said the headline was more about Christie being a larger-than-life figure.

"It's not just about his physical size; it's about his whole political act," he said. " ... And he's telling a story about his attitude, his approach, the way he handles himself."

An elephant is the symbol of the Republican party, which is currently doing some soul-searching after forcing the recent government shutdown.

Christie beat Democratic rival Barbara Buono easily when he was re-elected Tuesday. He won a substantial chunk of Democratic votes, which helped carry him to victory as a Republican in a traditionally blue state.

Christie fueled speculation over a possible presidential run when he suggested during his victory speech Tuesday night that officials in Washington pay attention to how he has governed in New Jersey.

Christie had no comment about the cover Thursday.

New Jersey residents told CBS 2's Dick Brennan they thought the Time headline hit below the belt.

Gov. Chris Christie Time Magazine Cover
(credit: Time magazine via CBS 2)

"That's not nice to judge people on what they look like, you know," said Danny Escobar, of Cliffside Park. "And he's in politics, so they should be judging him on what his political views are and not on his appearance."

"I don't think it's fair to make fun of his weight," said Susan Eastham, of Englewood. "But on the other hand, I think unfortunately, it comes with the territory."

"He's a tough guy. Elephants have tough skins, if that's what they're calling him," added Steve Sanzari, of Fort Lee. "But I don't think that's right, though."

It's not the first instance in which Time has used Christie on the cover. Back in January, they featured a cover picture of Christie with the headline "The Boss."

Christie said at the time he thought the cover made him look like television mobster Tony Soprano.

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