The video: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has emerged as an "unlikely rising Republican star," thanks largely to his masterful use of YouTube videos to tout his policies — and attack his rivals. With the self-promotional instincts of viral-video-kid-turned-pop-star Justin Bieber, Christie's team uploads video of his public and press appearances to a "GovChristie" YouTube channel every day or two, attracting tens of thousands of viewers. What might his YouTube prowess mean for Christie if, as many speculate, he decides to run for president in a 2012?
The reaction: Chris Christie has a jump on the rest of the GOP field, says David Weigel at Slate. He grasps that "winning fame as a national politician is not altogether different than winning fame as a budding... pop star," and he has used the power of viral video to turn himself into a "legend" of blunt talk and truth-telling. It's not just that Christie gets it — his videos work because he is "smooth," says Steve Kornacki at Salon, with "a performer's flair" and "a Clinton-ish knack for reducing policy arguments to digestible, common sense-seeming sound bites." Maybe, but Christie's "stinging and combative" style "is much better suited to vice president than president," says Mitchell Blumenthal at Capital. So he's probably putting himself into "Position A to be recruited as a running mate." Below, watch a video of Christie at the a town hall meeting last week, or check out his YouTube channel here.