Hillary's Tears Might Be Start Of Real Debate
Was it the tears in the New Hampshire coffee shop? Whenever there is a political upset, everyone looks for the unscripted incident, the I-paid-for-this-microphone moment that can account for it.
Hillary Clinton's improbable victory in New Hampshire is being widely attributed to her rare display of emotion when asked how she was holding up.
This "Hillary cried, Obama died" story line is satisfying, but it overlooks an earlier moment played to a national TV audience of 9 million that was even more revealing.
It showed a side of Barack Obama not seen before or since. And it wasn't pretty.
Asked in the Saturday Democratic debate about her dearth of "likability," Clinton offered an answer both artful and sweet — first, demurely saying her feelings were hurt and mock-heroically adding that she would try to carry on regardless, then generously conceding that Obama is very likable and "I don't think I'm that bad."
At which point, Obama, yielding to some inexplicable impulse, gave the other memorable unscripted moment of the New Hampshire campaign — the gratuitous self-indicting aside: "You're likable enough, Hillary." He said it looking down and with not a smile but a smirk.
Rising rock star puts down struggling diva — an unkind cut, deeply ungracious, almost cruel, from a candidate who had the country in a swoon over his campaign of grace and uplift. The media gave that moment little play, but millions saw it live, and I surely could not have been the only one who found it jarring.
It is fitting that New Hampshire should have turned on a tear or an aside.