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Can I Lend You a Hankie? Washington's Tearful Politicians Can I Lend You a Hankie? Washington's Tearful Politicians

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Can I Lend You a Hankie? Washington's Tearful Politicians

It’s called a “Muskie Moment” — when politicians tear up in public. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has had his share, and then-presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton had one on the campaign trail in 2008 (which, of course, was somehow chalked up as a “woman thing”). But when Sen. Edmund Muskie, D-Maine, gave his name to the phenomenon 38 years ago, it wasn’t a woman thing. It wasn’t endearing, as Boehner's moments are often described. It was destructive.

Muskie, a 1972 Democratic front-runner for president, approached the snow-laden Manchester Union-Leader office building in New Hampshire to publicly berate publisher William Loeb for printing an unsavory account of Muskie's wife. Loeb and his reporters later documented that Muskie was overcome by tears — which may or may not have actually been melting snowflakes — over simple campaign mudslinging. By day’s end, the politician's reputation — and any hope he had of winning the White House — was shattered.


So what are the criteria for crying on the political landscape today?

Aided somewhat by society's evolution in accepting displays of emotion, Boehner seems to have embraced the trend, earning him props from the ultimate judgment panel — the women on The View — as well as the nickname “Weeper of the House.”

Take a look at some of the most notable cries in politics:


Emotional Politicians

Rep. John Boehner Emotional on <em>60 Minutes</em> Sen. Mitch McConnell Bids Friend a Tearful Farewell Civil-Rights Leader Jesse Jackson Weeps on Election Night Joe Biden Candid About Family Clinton Chokes Up on Campaign Trail Romney Remembers Tears on <em>Meet the Press</em> President Clinton Crying? Famous Crier Edmund Muskie
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