"Now as a woman," she continued, "I know I've got to be always presenting a sort of organized front. And nobody's ever said that isn't one of my strong suits. I'm also a person, to some people's surprise. And what gets me up in the morning is not the next speech I'm going to make, and not the interview I'm going to do, it's whether I'm going to be helping somebody and whether I'm going to solve a problem for somebody."
Clinton, who routinely touts 35 years in the public arena, expressed little surprise at the reaction to "the moment."
"Oh, Diane, I don't know why. I feel like if I breathe deeply it's going to be a lead story and that's just something that goes with the territory."
Criticism from rivals also goes with the turf.
After this morning's event, Edwards expressed his readiness to face the strenuous demands of the presidency.
"What I know is I'm prepared for that and I'm in this fight for the middle class and the future of this country for the long haul, through the conventions, straight to the White House," Edwards told reporters.
However, in an interview Monday with ABC News' David Muir, Elizabeth Edwards offered more compassion than her husband, noting that everyone on the campaign trail can relate to how grueling the task can be.
At another campaign stop later in the day, Edwards appeared to adopt his wife's more sympathetic tone.
"These campaigns are very grueling," he said. "They're tough and difficult affairs, running for president is a tough process."
During a campaign stop at Jake's Coffee in New London, N.H., Obama was also asked to comment about Clinton's teary moment.
"I didn't see what happened," he said, but added, "I know this process is a grind. So that's not something I care to comment on."
When asked about Edwards' response by Sawyer, Clinton replied, "I don't think anybody doubts my toughness. That's never been one of the criticisms leveled at me."
Clinton also said her husband, former President Clinton, and daughter Chelsea have provided her with comfort and strength during the grueling campaign.
"You know, he's been incredibly supportive and he understands the electoral process better than anybody but he also understands the job of being president," she said of her husband. "And every day he says to me, 'You know I really have confidence in you in being the president America needs,' and that's more important to me than any kind of pep talk or advice."
ABC News' Kate Snow, Eloise Harper, David Muir and Raelyn Johnson contributed to this report.