Did choking up a day before the polls opened in New Hampshire help Senator Hillary Clinton to a surprising primary win on Jan. 8, stopping what seemed like a tidal wave of support for Senator Barack Obama?
Or was it the pile-on at the debate on Jan. 5, or Bill Clinton's rambling attempt to rescue his damsel in distress by attacking the media?
I can answer the last one. Attacks on the press are always a sign of weakness, yet are often effective. When it comes to the likeability of the media versus that of Clinton, Clinton might as well be Princess Diana and the press Britney Spears.
As for the other factors, it wasn't so much Clinton's behavior during the last few days as the men's conduct.
While it may have been self-pitying and desperate, and focus-grouped and polled, the now famous tearing up in a Portsmouth diner was all to the good. It didn't make Clinton look overly emotional (remember how crying doomed Senator Ed Muskie and Representative Pat Schroeder years ago?).
Earlier she'd up-armored herself against perceptions of being a weak sister on defense by voting for the Iraq war without even bothering to read the National Intelligence Estimate lest the facts hold her back.
And it's not like she needed a Kleenex at that diner. She quickly pivoted to being the smartest, worthiest person on Earth. ``Some of us are right and some of us are wrong. Some of us are ready and some of us are not.'' Guess who is and isn't?
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