Crying has come a long way in politics. In 1972, Ed Muskie wept outside the offices of New Hampshire’s Union Leader, and it was, at the time, a political disaster. Americans were apparently uncomfortable with adults in leadership positions emoting like this in public.
Attitudes have clearly changed. John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) frequent crying didn’t stop him from becoming Speaker of the House, and Hillary Clinton thrived in the New Hampshire primary four years ago after getting choked up. And yesterday, disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich showed far more emotion than we’re generally accustomed to seeing from him.
Newt Gingrich openly cried on Friday morning during an event with a group of mothers in an Iowa coffee shop as he described his own mother’s illness.
The Republican pollster Frank Luntz had asked Mr. Gingrich to recall a moment with his mother that changed his life. Mr. Gingrich started to describe the illness at the end of her life, when she struggled with depression and bipolar disease…. The tears immediately started flowing.
The episode was a break in character for Mr. Gingrich, who usually projects a nothing-bothers-me attitude…. Mr. Gingrich wiped tears from his eyes for several minutes as he described the lessons he learned from his mother and what he would say to her if she were in Iowa.
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