Clinton Gets Emotional on Campaign Trail

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 7, 2008 12:34pm

ABC News’ Kate Snow Reports: Campaigning in New Hampshire one day before the first-in-the-nation primary, Senator Hillary Clinton got emotional and had tears in her eyes as she spoke with voters about how hard it is to balance a busy campaign life and her passion for the country’s future.

The Senator from New York was sitting at a big table in Cafe Espresso in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with 16 undecided voters, mostly women, warmly and calmly taking questions.

Then she took an unexpected question from a woman standing in the back.

"My question is very personal, how do you do it?" asked Marianne Pernold Young, a freelance photographer from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She mentioned Clinton’s hair and appearance always looking perfectly coifed.  "How do you, how do you keep upbeat and so wonderful?"

Clinton began responding, jokingly.  First talking about her hair: "You know, I think, well luckily, on special days I do have help. If you see me every day and if you look on some of the websites and listen to some of the commentators they always find me on the day I didn’t have help. It’s not easy."

But then, Clinton began getting emotional: "It’s not easy, and I couldn’t do it if I didn’t passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I have so many opportunities from this country just don’t want to see us fall backwards," she said.

Her voice breaking and tears in her eyes, she said, "You know, this is very personal for me. It’s not just political it’s not just public. I see what’s happening, and we have to reverse it."

Watch the video HERE.

"Some people think elections are a game, lot’s of who’s up or who’s down, [but] it’s about our country , it’s about our kids’ futures, and it’s really about all of us together," she said.

"You know, some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds, and we do it, each one of us because we care about our country but some of us are right and some of us are wrong, some of us are ready and some of us are not, some of us know what we will do on day one and some of us haven’t thought that through enough," she said in a veiled reference to her Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

"And so when we look at the array of problems we have and the potential for it really spinning out of control, this is one of the most important elections American has ever faced," Clinton said.

After the event, Pernold Young told ABC News that she was glad Clinton showed emotion.

"She allowed herself to feel," Pernold Young said.  " I was surprised and I said, ‘wow there’s someone there.’"

Another woman in the group, Alison Hamilton of Portsmouth, New Hampshire said she, like most of the people in the group, had been considering Obama.

But after seeing Clinton become emotional, she said she was going to vote for Clinton.

"Her whole thing today really convinced me but that really did clinch it for me," Hamilton said. "She’s very impressive."

During the event, Clinton also had an exchange with an Obama supporter asking whether she can bring change, and why the Democrats haven’t been able to affect change in Congress, despite taking power after the 2006 midterm elections.

"At the end of the day when the cameras are off what have you done?" asked the voter.

Clinton responded, arguing a politician’s record is important.

"I know that to some people it sounds like there’s a contradiction between change and experience… You can’t have one without the other."

Clinton said people aren’t aware of the small things the Democrats in Congress have accomplished because the war in Iraq is ongoing.

"You just keep going at it every single day," she said. 

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