Video of a speech by New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie has gone viral over the past couple days, garnering more than 4 million views on YouTube. In the six-minute clip, Christie compares treatment of his mother, a lifetime smoker, to that of drug addicts.
“When she was 71, [my mother] was diagnosed with lung cancer,” he said. “No one came to me and said ‘Don’t treat her ’cause she got what she deserved’… Yet somehow, if it’s heroin or cocaine or alcohol, we say, ‘Well, they decided, they’re getting what they deserve.'”
Rachel Maddow played the clip on her show and said it might explain why Christie, despite terrible poll numbers, is still in the presidential race: He can surprise you with his positions and be a great communicator.
Scott Nolen, director OSI-Baltimore’s Drug Addiction Treatment program, recalls Governor Christie showing the type of compassion that he spoke about in this stump speech when Nolen was doing advocacy work in New Jersey.
“We had a client who had a 40-year-old conviction for possession of a handful of pills without a prescription,” he recalls. “And because of an archaic law about working or contracting at a public school if you have a drug conviction, this 60-something-year-old grandfather with no other criminal history was about to lose his job. Governor Christie granted clemency to our client on that charge allowing him to keep his job.”