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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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May 7th, 2013
06:47 PM ET

Weighing in on Christie's surgery

Chris Christie spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about a weight loss surgery he underwent in February, further stoking political speculation that the New Jersey governor is shaping up for a 2016 presidential run.

Christie said the decision instead was based on his commitment to his family.

“I felt great about myself before and I’ll feel great about myself after no matter how it goes,” he said at a press conference in Newark.

Still, political rumors continue to swirl that Christie has additional motives for slimming down.

“This is about his life so running for president may one day be a part of his life but I think you have to believe him when he says he turned 50, this is about his family, this is about his wife, it’s about his kids. He said you confront your own mortality,” CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”

“And, yes, it’s about running for the presidency because I believe his weight would have been a huge liability and still could be,” she continues.

“But what we also heard from him today is vintage Christie – he made it very clear he’s not going to turn this in to a self-help crusade for lap bands. He is done with this and he is moving on.”

If he were to run the weight would be less a liability with voters than it would a physical liability of the campaign trail.

Navarro, a CNN contributor, called her past experiences on the campaign trail “rigorous” also noting the number of small airplane seats it takes to get to the early battleground states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

“After watching that press conference, at least we know it hasn’t affected his personality,” Navarro said. “It’s the same Chris Christie.”

Pointing to personal health issues, Van Jones, also a CNN contributor, added, “it’s sobering” as you consider the future of a young family.

“I think he have to take him as a human being. I like him more as a human being than as a politician,” he said. “The guy you saw today I think is everybody’s fantasy – to be able to go out there and be able to stick up for yourself and stick up for your family and stick it to the press.”

Pivoting to a prominent congressional race, polls close tonight in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. The race pits Democratic Elizabeth Colbert Busch against Republican former governor Mark Sanford.

Asked by CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta to weigh in on last month’s failed gun background check bill by Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey, Colbert Busch demurred.

“I am a defender of the Second Amendment but we should expand background checks,” she said.

Jones doubted her inability to give a yes or no answer would make a difference to anyone outside of the media at this point in the race.

“This is a great race because you have two underdogs,” Jones said. “If you like underdogs and I think everyone likes underdogs in politics – you’ve got two underdogs going against each other.

“This late date I don’t think anyone is going to care about that little slip,” Jones said “But I do think she’s sinking in the polls a little bit because she has actually disappointed some of her Democratic base by trying to reach out, by trying to seem a little bit more conservative.”

Colbert-Busch, the sister of famous comedian Stephen Colbert, is faced with a heavily Republican district.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley named former Rep. Tim Scott to fill a senate seat of former Sen. Jim DeMint late last year, triggering the special election.

Ultimately, Borger notes, “Whoever wins is renting the seat.”

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