Emotional Moment for Clinton in N.H.


By: Wall Street Journal

Amy Chozick reports on the presidential campaign from Portsmouth, N.H.

Speaking to an intimate group of undecided voters this morning at a cafe in Portsmouth, Hillary Clinton showed a rare emotional side.

The last question of the Q&A breakfast session came from Maryann Pernold, a 64-year-old undecided Democrat. Pernold said that as a woman “I know it’s hard to get out of the house and get ready,” she said. “Who does your hair?”

“It’s not easy, it’s not easy,” Clinton said shaking her head. Her eyes began to get watery as she finished answering the question, “I couldn’t do it if I didn’t just passionately believe it was the right thing to do,” she said. “I have so many ideas for this country and I just don’t want to see us fall backwards as a nation. This is very personal for me,” she said to a quiet round of supportive applause. “It’s about our country, it’s about our kids’ future, it’s really about all of us together,” she said tearing up, her voice cracking. (See video of Clinton’s response.)

The group of 15 women sitting around a table at the Cafe Espresso nodded approvingly. Clinton continued, her voice still breaking: “Some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds and we do it, each one of us, because we care about our country. But some of us are right and some of us are wrong, some of us are ready and some of us are not. Some of us know what we’ll do on day one and some of us haven’t thought that through,” she said.

Clearly exhausted, Clinton trying to regain her lead after coming in a disappointing third in Iowa, went on to say that she tries to exercise while she’s on the road and eat healthy but pizza is usually the easiest option. “As tired as I am, and I am, and as difficult as it is to try to keep up what I try to do on the road,” she said in an unusually vulnerable moment. “I just believe so strongly in who we are as a nation so I’m going to do everything I can to make my case and leave it to the voters to decide.”

Could this be her Edmund Muskie moment? In 1972, Muskie appeared to cry as he fumed against New Hampshire’s conservative Manchester Union-Leader, which had attacked his wife. For the Maine senator, who had been considered a front-runner, that moment punctured the campaign and eventually led to its collapse.

That won’t be the outcome if voters think like Pernold, who was satisfied with the answer. “She really loves us and wants us to succeed in the world,” she said. “I think she’s real now, there’s a person there.”

Allison Hampton, a retired teacher who was leaning toward voting for Barack Obama, says she’ll now go with Clinton. “When she broke up at the end, that came from the heart,” Hampton said. “She’s genuine and extremely intelligent.”

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