Presidents cry, big deal
"It's not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the doer of deeds might have done them better. Instead, the credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by sweat and blood and tears."
Presidents and presidential candidates tear up from time to time. It's no big deal.
Hillary Clinton's voice breaks in New Hampshire and we get endless "analysis" of Hillary's mental stability and questions about whether she's "tough enough" to be president. Mitt Romney's have welled up twice in one week, and it didn't lead anyone to question his emotional stability or his fitness for command.
Tears are as old as the presidency itself:
George Washington "was obliged to wipe his eyes several times," according to the account of one Dr. Cogswell, at his heady arrival in New York for his swearing-in as the first President. And Teddy White wrote that "the elegant and controlled" John F. Kennedy had "tears in his eyes" the night he was elected in 1960. [NYT, 1993]
Sitting president William Howard Taft burst into tears on the campaign trail in 1912, exclaiming to a reporter, "Roosevelt was my closest friend."
Bill Clinton shed tears in 1993 at the swearing in of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Former president George H. W. Bush wept openly in 2006.
Modern campaign coverage is a numbers game. Train a camera on anyone long enough, and you're bound to observe some anomalous reactions. The professionals call these "gaffes" or "moments." Get that Rorschach footage and you can peddle dimestore psychology as news.
Photo caption: Tears run from the eyes of President Bush during a Medal of Honor ceremony for Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham at the White House in Jan. 2007.--USA Today