Gingrich chokes up in Iowa recalling his mother

Gingrich's tears reminiscent of Hillary Clinton in 2008; Republican candidates poised for Tuesday Iowa caucuses.

December 31, 2011 04:27
1 minute read.
Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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DES MOINES - Struggling Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich choked up at a campaign event on Friday, wiping away tears as he discussed his late mother in a display of emotion that was reminiscent of Hillary Clinton's game-changing teary moment in 2008.

At a campaign event in Iowa targeted at moms, Gingrich lost his composure repeatedly when asked about his mother, who suffered from depression and bipolar disorder before she died in 2003.

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The audience of mostly women was sympathetic as Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, cried.

"I do policy much easier than I do personal," Gingrich said by way of recovery, to laughter from the crowd.

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The emotional scene was reminiscent of a pivotal moment in the Democratic presidential race in 2008. Hillary Clinton, who lost her front-runner status when Barack Obama won the first Democratic nominating contest in Iowa, teared up briefly during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, the next state to hold a nominating contest.

The rare show of emotion came when a supporter asked how she handled the pressure of running a national campaign. The moment helped to humanize her for voters, especially women. She ended up winning the state's primary election, briefly stopping Obama's momentum and setting up a months-long battle for the Democratic nomination.

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