As part of its "'16 and President" video series, Huffington Post filmed Chris Christie speaking about addiction during a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. An outtake, which features the entirety of Christie's six-plus- minute riff on the subject, has become a viral sensation this week.
As of Thursday afternoon, it has been viewed nearly six million times since it was originally posted a week ago. It has been shared on Facebook more than 78,000 times. It's also drawn wall to wall coverage on cable TV and been featured in packages on the broadcast networks as well.
In short, if elections are about moments, Christie is having one.
You can understand why. The Christie in the video is the Christie who would have been the frontrunner had he entered the 2012 presidential race. In re-telling his mother's long fight with addiction to cigarettes as a window into the need for a more compassionate approach to how we deal with drug addiction, Christie shows off his softer side (and that of the party he represents.) It also showcases his natural gifts as a communicator -- a guy who talks like and connects with regular people.
At the same time, it is somewhat odd that a video for a liberal news site that features Christie talking about drug addiction -- not immigration or healthcare or a more hot-button issue -- is what's driving buzz about the New Jersey governor. (The big question is whether all of the interest around the Christie video comes from people who are not Republicans or whether it is actually touching a real chord among potential GOP primary and caucus voters.)
But, a moment is a moment. And the interest in this video comes hard on Christie's strong performance in the third Republican presidential debate and shortly before the next GOP debate, which is set for Nov. 10. (One piece of bad news for Christie; he may wind up at the kiddie table debate next week.)
Christie has waited for months and months to have this sort of positive chatter about his presidential candidacy. Ever since the Bridge-gate scandal broke in early 2014, Christie has operated under a cloud of negative press attention and unfavorable buzz among party insiders. That's led to his dip into the low single digits in national polls and led to difficulty raising the sort of money he needs to keep up with the race's frontrunners.
It's possible -- possible, not probable -- that this HuffPo video could mark the moment when Christie started to make his comeback. Stranger things have happened already in this campaign; I give you "Republican frontrunner Donald Trump."
Look to New Hampshire. Christie has spent months traveling the state in hopes of a breakthrough. If this is truly one, look for his numbers to start moving in primary ballot tests in the Granite State sometime soon.