January 7th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
8 years ago

Clinton gets emotional at New Hampshire stop

Watch Obama react to Bhutto's death

Watch Clinton get emotional at a New Hampshire stop Monday.

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire (CNN) - Hillary Clinton became visibly emotional at a New Hampshire campaign event today after a friendly question from a voter.

At the close of a Portsmouth campaign stop, Marianne Pernold-Young, 64, asked Clinton: "How do you do it? How do you keep up... and who does your hair?"

Clinton began noting that she had help with her hair on "special days," and that she drew criticism on the days she did not. Then she added: "It's not easy, and I couldn't do it if I just didn't, you know, passionately believe it was the right thing to do.

"You know, I have so many opportunities from this country, I just don't want to see us fall backwards," she said, her voice breaking a bit. The audience applauded.

"This is very personal for me, it's not just political, it's [that] I see what's happening, we have to reverse it," she said emotionally, adding that some "just put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds.

"But some of us are right and some of us are wrong. Some of us ready and some of us are not. Some of us know what we will do on day one, and some of us really haven't thought that through enough...

"So as tired as I am - and I am. And as difficult as it is to try and keep up what I try to do on the road, like occasionally exercise and try to eat right - it's tough when the easiest food is pizza - I just believe so strongly in who we are as a nation. So I'm gonna do everything I can and make my case and you know the voters get to decide."

The New York senator is under pressure after some weekend surveys showed opponent Barack Obama with a sudden double-digit edge, with less than a day to go until the New Hampshire primary.

At a New Hampshire campaign event, presidential rival John Edwards told reporters he was unaware of Clinton's emotional reaction and would not respond to it, but added, according to CNN's Dugald McDonnell: "I think what we need in a commander in chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are a tough business, but being President of the United States is also a very tough business. And the President of the United States is faced with very, very difficult challenges every single day, difficult judgments every single day."

- CNN Senior Political Producer Sasha Johnson

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • New Hampshire
soundoff (926 Responses)
  1. L.Mitchell

    Hillary has shown an emotional side that proves that she is "human" just like the rest of us. Don't fault her for showing her "softer" side, as I've seen grown men cry for less. She may not be what America is looking for to make the changes we need in our country, but to pick a candidate with little or no experience would be a big mistake. America, take your blinders off! We all know what happened to our country because of inexperience!!

    January 8, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Jette, Denmark


    I wonder if a political comment from Hillary, Edwards or Obama would have gotten the same attention and just the same comments.

    Please note that there ARE difference between women and men! But what you all want is a woman with the attitude of a man, but then you do not like when she suddenly shows a woman feeling.

    Sorry, I did not watch the video, but I know that Hillary has tried to do something for the health when Bill Clinton was president.

    In Denmark we have a health security where we pay NOTHING for kids and adults going to the doctor. The hospitals are free and kids under 18 also have free dentist. We pay a lot in taxes but at least the money are used for everybody – not only the ones who can pay the insurances.

    But – as someone else wrote: Most important thing is that you vote.
    At least you have the chance to get a new president – and what I have seen so far (shortly) is that all 3 democrate candidates do have some points that are worth takeing.

    Sorry for this long comment, because what I really wanted to say: Wote with your heart AND mind.

    January 8, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Susan

    Please read this:

    You will learn about the real Hillary! After you're done reading it, imagine this criminal couple in the white house again doing the same things they did before. We should be afraid of them.

    January 8, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Tanya Hasselbarth

    Hillary Clinton's display of emotion did not seem to me to be one of falsehood. As one woman to another, I felt her pain at the very moment she showed it. It was like for one moment someone had asked a question that I (Mrs. Clinton) had not taken the time to ask myself. And maybe no one close to her had asked it either...at least lately. It is very difficult being a woman, so just add running for President to the mix. I feel you Hillary and I stand by you, although I have not completely made up my mind on who to vote. for, but Hillary's show of emotion made me see her in a more compassionate light...and I appreciate the honesty!!

    For all you nay-sayers, stopping hating on Hillary, she is NOT BILL....although I like Bill too!! She 's a WOMAN FULL OF EMOTION and that should be applauded. We need someone in the White House who can be compassionate for her/his fellow Americans. Someone who will treat us/Americans as they wish to be treated.

    God Bless Hillary and America!!
    TJH – MD

    January 8, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. James Gallant

    I think the attention to Hillary's simple moment of exp0resing how much the issues mean to her is totally sexist. She has received unfair scrutiny in every way because of her gender.Een if she has not played the gender card, it has been and is being used against her, since there are so many insecure men (and women) in this country who canot join the 21st century and see that a woman can be an effective world leader.
    Would this brief moment (hardly a flood of tears) have received the same attention from Romney, McCain or Obama. I think now.
    We may be about to prove that this country has not changed so much since women had to fight for the right to vote, and that's a crying shame.

    January 8, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. J, B.Pierce

    I believe it shows her "SINCERITY" the highest form of good leadership........she cares about America and it's people. She wants to make a difference for the good of all. Being elected President isn't just a title to her but an opportunity to take America to a better life, a higher standard of living , to be respected by the rest of the world , something America has all but lost in the last years under the present administration. She stands for the good of all mankind . She knows she has a tough battle but feels it is worth it . Hillary stands for America!

    January 8, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |


    My name is Walter Wilson. I am a married African-American father living in California. I have been a business owner, "Computer Consultant" for more than 20 years, in Silicon Valley. I am a Community Activist and a Board of Directors member of the African American Community Services Agency. I am a Democrat who changed from Republican some 8 years ago. I consider myself politically to be, fiscally moderate to conservative and socially moderate to liberal.

    Though I have never met Hillary Clinton, I was impressed by her willingness to attempt to tackle the tough issues, and Big Lobbies, like "Health Care", during Bill Clintons tenure as President. Even though that effort failed at that time
    many cities and states like San Jose, have adopted health care policies similar to those proposed by Hillary, to guarantee health care for all school age children, no exceptions. And California is following suit as well. Under the 8 year Presidency of Bill Clinton, per capita, African-Americans enjoyed the largest real growth in real estate, business creation and wealth, than in any other 8 year period in this country's' history. Of course the country a whole was more economically healthy during Bill Clintons Presidency. I believe that Hillary as President Clintons spouse talked to her Husband and gave him her opinions on many issues affecting this country. I expect Bill as Hillary's spouse to do the same.

    For me, Hillary's emotional chat was an expression of the compassion and caring about America that her political views mirror. Its unfortunate that many Americans vote based upon superficial standards, like emotions and speeches and not past deeds and actions. Based upon here track record, I will vote for Hillary because I think she has earned my vote. I am pleased that she is tough on terrorism, particularly since I had relatives who were near harms way during the 9/11 terrorist attack on NY, and its the right thing to do. I am pleased that she as a Mother better understands the issues of raising a family and is gravely concerned for the welfare of our children. I don't believe she will continue this policy of burying the countries future under trillions dollars of unpaid debt like the current administration has woefully done to America. I'm glad that people can see that the usually stoic Hillary, has emotions and can sincerely convey her concerns so that America knows, she understands and feels our pain. I really like Obama and what he stands for, however, I think Hillary will make the better President at this time.

    Thank you-

    P.S. its interesting reading the nasty vicious comments on this subject on this blog. void of any thoughtful dialogue. It gives one the impression they are being written by children. But afterall, it is campaign season isnt it, and anyone can write on a blog?

    January 8, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Pete

    Here's the real questions..........

    1. Is Hilary a member of AFGA?

    2. Rather than President, don't you think Hilary should be nonminated for
    Best Actor/Supporting Actor?


    January 8, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Cheryl, Mammoth Lakes, CA

    Life is full of emotions. Stop pestering viewers with repeatedly showing Hillary's emotional display. Take it for what it is: an answer to a question, delivered honestly. The candidates are exhausted, but they are out there, trying to help this country get better. Stop the negative comments & evaluations & stick to the issues that matter, not a few teary eyes.

    January 8, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. DrC

    In response to critics who fault Hillary Clinton for having an "emotional" moment...
    She was answering a question on how she is "holding up" through undertaking the grueling journey of becoming president. She did not get teary when asked whether she takes cream or sugar in her coffee. Hillary Clinton showed all of us that America is in her heart. She spoke from her heart about her hopes for what once was a great country. This race is not a game for her; this race is about her life and the lives of the people she hopes to one day represent as leader. I am elated that Hillary takes this privilege as personally as she does. I wish the other candidates did too.

    January 8, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Aubrey Rose

    Not everything is game.

    I tuned into CNN and watched Sen Clinton's vunerable apparence in in the cafe. I was moved. Unscripted or not, Hillary Clinton is a strong women. But she is human. The press and voters like to speculate on all these candiadates, ripping them apart, and distorting thier repuatation. One of the main attacks on Hillary Clinton is her stern persona, and the second she is real with her voters PEOPLE ATTACK HER. I admire her as a young women and I am sick and tired of hearing everyone attack her.

    I am torn between Obama and Clinton, but one thing is sure. I don't agree with these personal attacks made on Hillary. They are cruel and inaccurate. As a younger generation, I am hoping for a more positive and constructive America. Stop with the combat already!

    January 8, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Aubrey Rose

    I just read some of the comments on this board. I am disgusted. Especially from our own democratic party. I would expect this from our right wing republican friends!

    And to the comments oabout her crying affecting her being able to handle the presidency: I would rather have a president with a heart that could cry, then someone so removed from their feelings.

    One for reflection: If Barack Obama had teared up when asked aout his campiagn trials, everyone would find it so endearing. I love Barack as much as the next but stop with the double standard.

    People will jump on Hillary for anything. This negativity is deplorable. Trust me, we already have enough Ann Coulters in the world. Let's not form them in our own party.

    January 8, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. Sam Zaman

    Obama Is more open and not a shroud politician. Hillary like bill never gave a straight answer or take firm side any debatable issue. people are cofused where she stand. On the other hand Obama stand by his word and apologize for mistake.

    January 8, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. avatar

    Obama, Hillary, or Edwards – no matter who it is, is way better for this country than any of the republicans (Ron Paul comes close). All politicians are shrewd, but I think Hillary didn't fake it. Rather, she did a very good job with her emotional side.

    January 8, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  15. avatar

    Don't order a woman to iron your shirts – it could backfire, and it did in NH. 50% women rallied for Hillary.

    January 8, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  16. Fred Fep

    1st, would Hillary go along with pretext of small motorboats harrassing our ships patrolling in Hormuz? I recall Clinton was overly reactive, wanting to just bomb and then think afterwards. I realize there is all this terrorist stuff, but before Bush and gang decided to pooh pooh what was done before, it was under control, though I still don't know why 5 of the 9/11 hijackers were living at Pensacola Naval Air Base, do you?

    Obama says nothing concret this is true, but I see Clinton's experience as similar to the White House chef, and what could she possibly have really done in this Congress the past 7 years, really nothing, nothing important.

    She is a nice person, but so what? He speaks well, but so what? Kucinich won the debates but so what?

    January 9, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Kate

    I think it's interesting how so many people have decided that Hillary's slight display of emotion is somehow a sign of weakness and inability to run a country, yet no one seems to have an issue with the emotional display given by Obama, who was raised by a single mother, and Edwards, who lost a child. If it had been Hillary who lost a child then everyone would be wondering whether she was emotionally stable enough to handle a presidency. I think all of the candidates are worth taking the time to listen to. I don't think it's easy for any of them, Republican or Democrat. In the end, I think we need to make a thoughtful, informed decision based on not one event, or shared political view, but for the candidate as a whole.

    January 9, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. cmax

    people in my workplace think it had to be real because " you just can;t choke up like that on cue!" WAKE UP! I'm a woman - we do it all the time!!

    January 9, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. RAFF


    January 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. SEYI

    Hillary sheding a little water on her eyes does not mean she is not as strong as Magret tatcher of UK.Every now and then people used to have emotional feelling.....everybody knew she has been a strong politicial for the past tirty five years and she will continue to be...I do'nt know why somebody is trying to bring her down simply because one of the contender is your favorite...

    January 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. J Resendiz

    I agree that her people probably told her she needed to show a softer side and low and behold there it was. However, I am sure she was fearful in the past of looking "too soft" because that is what everyone is waiting for because she is a woman. Personally, I have heard she has great wit and humor. I would rather see that than tears. I just want to see she is human and not a robot. Either way, Obama 08!!!

    January 9, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. ABC

    This scene (or outtake) immediately reminded me of the 1987 movie "Broadcast News" in which Tom Grunick (played by William Hurt) faked his tearful on-camera response during an interview with a date rape victim by summoning up tears for the shot after the interview was over. Am I the only one who saw this as nothing more than an "act"? You've got to believe Hillary's spinsters are telling her daily you have to be more personal, earthy, believable – instead of the cold-hearted, unfeeling (you feel in the blank ) as she's perceived by most sensible Americans. For crying out loud New Hampshire – how gullable are you? Need you and the rest of the country be reminded that less than two months ago – following a speech at a plant in Iowa – Grinnell college student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff asked Hillary a CANNED question from one of her staffers. Apparently, Hillary's response to the now infamous question, "How do you do it?...How do you keep up?, as posed by Marianne Pernold-Young at the Portsmouth campaign stop didn't keep her from voting for Obama. Maybe she saw it for what it was – an act. Of course, Hillary denies such tactics. Her mentor was one of the best in our history as William Jefferson Clinton still claims he did not have sexual relations with that woman and people still believe him. God help us! By the way, my initials – ABC – stand for Anyone But Clinton (for President).

    January 9, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Chris

    The candidates of both parties have been speaking for decades for change with
    no specific substance. The only real change has been bigger and deeper whole,
    trillions dollars of debt, hopes of empty promises – brain washing the
    people, filling their coffers, ignoring their duties, responsibilities, plunge
    the country into a war for over 5 years and lost of lives.
    A true change of substance will be when the people can express
    “THEIR WILL” on ALL MAJOR ISSUES”. The duties and responsibilities of
    the Congress should be and must be ”strictly construed”.
    The future destiny, liberty, freedom to live , work etc. should be in the hands
    of the people to “express their will” on ALL MAJOR ISSUES!
    “Find out to what people will submit and you will find the exact measure
    of injustice that will be impose upon them”. It is better to suffer,
    rather than to relinquish any “HOPES” to express “THE WILL ON ALL
    MAJOR ISSUES! It is a mistake to continue to give “unlimited power”
    to anybody, to plunge the country into a “war, debt of trillions of dollars”.
    The Congress did not comply with their duties and responsibilities!
    Their greed – wealth came first before the country and the people.

    January 10, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Did some of you even watch the clip? At what point does Hillary cry? Maybe her voice wavers a bit with emotion, but you people are no better than the media trying to exploit this. Get over it and focus on the real issues.

    January 10, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  25. DFM

    It's amazing how so many people can focus so intensely on an almost arbitrary issue, and even more amazing how seemingly every possible negative vibe and projection is drawn from the slightest bit of emotion in order to degrade a presidential candidate, a fellow American. First of all, if anyone actually listens to the question and response, or reads the text which is conveniently placed at the top of the page, you will realize that Hillary Clinton did not "cry over her hair." The woman who asked the question about her hair after the initial questions of "How do you do it?" and "How do you keep up?" The hair question was intended as more of a humorous thought and something to lighten the previous serious questions. Yes, Hillary Clinton did get slightly emotional, but SHE DID NOT CRY. It is evident in the video that she even caught herself offguard by displaying some of her emotion. It was a moment of honest, sincere display of the actual feelings that was, without a doubt, unscripted.
    This event, in my opinion, was very radically feminist. A well-informed individual would realize that Hillary Clinton was not showing that she was "too soft" or "unfit for the job." She is feminely human. Feminism today is not about women and men being the same, but about recognizing that men and women are different, for the better. It is when we acknowledge these differences, accept them and learn to value both, that we will begin to reach our full potential as one of the greatest democracies in the world.
    It would not be realistic to say that we should just avoid small characteristics, such as being publicly emotional, because that is not ever going to happen. No matter what, we will pay attention not only to what the candidates say, but how they speak. It is in our best interest to take into account each candidate's history of actions and experience, along with their ability to express themselves, whether scripted or unscripted.
    The truth is, Hillary Clinton has proven herself worthy of being one of the greatest American presidents in history through her actions, as well as her words.

    January 10, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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