Another two or three more viral hits like this, I figure, and he’ll be nominated next year whether he wants to be or not. After all, Ace is right: This guy is a living, breathing test of the theory that unapologetic fiscal conservatism can win anywhere, even in New Jersey. The better he does, the more emboldened weaker-willed Republicans will be to draw the line on spending in their own blue states. And maybe not just on spending.

Two clips here, one of the exchange with the heckler and the other of Christie laying the blame for Jersey’s pension crisis where it belongs. And two ironies to bear in mind as you watch. First, is a guy who’s become a grassroots sensation for his pugnaciousness really the best person to lecture on divisiveness? Maybe so; see Ace’s headline at the link up top for more on that. Second, most people are posting a 30-second clip of the heckler exchange but I’m giving you the full two-minute news story at RCP because it includes an interesting comment from the reporter at the end. Whitman had spoken earlier at the event about needing to show spine, but Christie deprived her of an opportunity to do that here by jumping in to deal with the heckler. He helped his own image but I’m not sure that he helped hers. Click the first image to watch.

N.J. Gov. Christie: You may hate me now, but ten years from now you'll be sending me a thank you note

Update: Via the Right Scoop, here’s the full exchange from CNN.