Gingrich chokes up in Iowa recalling his mother

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

Newt Gingrich 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Newt Gingrich 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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.
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.