On January 7, 2008: Hillary’s Emotional Moment

The day before the New Hampshire primary in 2008, pollster John Zogby reported that Barack Obama had “rocketed” to a 10-point lead over Hillary Clinton in that state.

That same day, Mrs. Clinton showed a rare emotional side while speaking to a group of 15 women in a Portsmouth cafe. “It’s not easy,” she said, beginning to tear up. “I just believe so strongly in who we are as a nation so I’m going to do everything I can to make my case and leave it to the voters to decide.”

If that Zogby poll was correct, it seems that more than 15 voters changed their minds about Mrs. Clinton that day. She won the 2008 New Hampshire primary the very next day.

Yesterday, President Obama teared up while talking about gun violence. Pew research from last July shows the public’s broad support for expanded background checks, so the president knew he was speaking to an agreeing audience. But his emotional moment may have changed even more hearts and minds.

The public likes its politicians and presidents to be human and often rewards them for it.

Tonight, President Obama will appear on CNN television for a one-hour live town hall on the subject of gun control. The program begins at 8pm ET. It is titled “Guns in America.”

For a compelling history of the 2008 campaign, as told by news media, politicians, and ordinary people, see King's Dream: Barack Obama Becomes President of the United States of America.