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Cry Me A River

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jan 10, 2008 5:50PM

Hillary Clinton's "Emotional Moment" in the Portsmouth, NH café on Monday has already become the stuff of myth, with many pundits directly and indirectly attributing Clinton's surprise victory in Tuesday's primary to the tears that almost fell (but never actually did). Leave it to Chicago's own Jesse Jackson Jr., co-chairman of Barack Obama's national campaign, to siphon the tears out of the excretory ducts of Clinton's eyes and leverage them for political gain:

There were tears that melted the Granite State, and those tears that Mrs. Clinton cried on that day clearly moved voters – she somehow connected with those voters. But those tears also have to be analyzed. They have to be looked at very, very carefully in light of Katrina, in light of other things that Mrs. Clinton did not cry for, particularly as we head to South Carolina, where 45 percent of African-Americans will participate in the Democratic contest, and they see real hope in Barack Obama.

And why was Clinton (almost) crying?

Not in response to voters – not in response to Katrina, not in response to other issues that have devastated the American people, the war in Iraq, we saw tears in response to her appearance. So her appearance brought her to tears, but not hurricane Katrina.

First: there were no tears. Second: how do we know that Clinton didn't cry for Katrina or Iraq? She could very well have cried buckets of tears for Katrina and Iraq in the privacy of her own home. And third: Clinton's appearance did not bring her to tears (we hope).

In all fairness to Sen. Clinton, the question asked was, "How do you do it? How do you keep upbeat and so wonderful?" Why that sort of softball elicited the response that it did is anyone's guess. We hate to admit it, but New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd probably put it best when she wrote, "What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect of losing." That about sums it up. To call Clinton "calculating" is nothing new, and it's perfectly reasonable to suspect that the moment in question was not entirely genuine, but for senior members from within the Obama campaign to suggest as much on a national broadcast is probably unwise, especially in light of the "you're likable enough" business. --Mark Boyer [Ed note: Male politicians cry too. Unlike baseball, there is plenty of crying in politics.]