DES MOINES, Iowa -- Maybe his drop in the polls is getting to him.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is not known for emotional displays, but started to cry Friday morning when he was asked to talk about his mother during a town hall forum here with an audience mostly of moms.
"Well, first of all you'll get me all teary-eyed. Callista will tell you, I get teary-eyed every time we sing Christmas carols," Gingrich said, beginning to lose his composure when asked by GOP pollster Frank Luntz about his mom, Kit Gingrich, who died in 2003 at age 77.
He then choked out a few incoherent syllables as tears came to his eyes, before catching himself. "Excuse me," he said.
Gingrich righted himself with a joke.
"My mother sang in the choir. She loved singing in the choir," he said. "And I don't know if I should admit this, but when I was very young, she made me sing in the choir."
The audience laughed, but as Gingrich talked some more about his mother's physical and mental decline in her old age, he veered back toward tears.
"I identify my mother with, uh, being happy, loving life, having a sense of joy in her friends," he said. "But what she introduced me to is, late in her life, she ended up in a long-term care facility. She had bipolar disease and depression, and she gradually acquired some physical ailments."
"And that introduced me to the whole issue of quality long-term care," he said. "My whole emphasis on brain science comes in directly from dealing with -- um."
And then Gingrich completely lost it.
"See now you've got me completely emotional," he said.
He finished his thought asserting that he has come up with policy solutions based on "dealing with the real problems of real people in my family."
"So it's not a theory," he said, wiping away tears. "It's, in fact, my mother."
"I do policy much easier than I do personal," Gingrich said.
Watch the moment here.