Thursday should have been a very bad day for Chris Christie. His name appeared beside the word scandal in headlines across the country.  (In case the connection between creating artificial traffic problems and political retribution is not clear to you, Ryan Holeywell's story on the only-in-New-Jersey scandal can help.)

What's more, the scandal seemed to draw on plot lines from rejected episodes of The Sopranos meets The House of Cards -- political retribution from an allegedly jilted suitor and Christie himself sent over from central casting with that tough talking, sometimes bullying vibe.

But Thursday will be remembered as a good day. Christie put in one of the best performances of his career.  Contrite, not combative.  He apologized more than a few times during the almost two-hour affair.  He even choked up at one point, saying "he just didn't get it" when describing the betrayal by the aide he had just fired.  But he was sure footed, engaged and owned the room.

I edited down the video from the original two-hour performance (now taken offline by the governor's office) to a six-minute piece.  It begins with the opening statement, complete with its wooden formality, but he then pivots among reporters' questions with humility, dexterity, a fair bit of emotion and even humor.

Whatever you think of his politics, there are lessons in what Christie did and how he did it.