Pollsters and pundits are scrambling to figure out how they got Hillary’s surprise NH primary win so wrong. Whether it was a genuine emotional display or a calculated campaign stunt, the outcome was the same: it recast her from a toughened political automaton to a warm and vulnerable human being in the eyes of many voters.
Personally and professionally, I looked at this from several angles.
First, I’m a woman. My instinct was to believe her. After all, she was simply showing her emotions, and hasn’t she been criticized for being “the ice queen?” Give her a break, I thought, isn’t she allowed to shed a few tears in her quest for the top job? See Courtney Barnes of PR News blog on this topic. Men get emotional and people find it endearing. Women cry and we’re labeled weak.
Second, I’m a PR professional. If it was contrived, I’m impressed. Not only did her strategic advisors help her orchestrate an unexpected comeback, but they must have given her some phenomenal coaching to have appeared so genuine.
Third, I live and work in Portsmouth, NH – the scene of the actual “ice queen” meltdown! We’re smart people here. We don’t like the wool pulled over eyes. We want the straight facts and are rarely swayed by tears and sob stories.
Fourth, I’m human. I get tired. I understand where she’s coming from and everyone has a vulnerable moment. I admire her passion and tenacity, as well as all the candidates who keep going under such exhausting circumstances.
I wonder how this split-second event actually affected how people voted. It was reported the woman who asked Hillary the now infamous question ended up voting for Obama.
The bottom line is this: whether the crying bit was a brilliant PR move or a sincere response to one voter’s question it doesn’t dictate our vote. We still get to choose. It’s our right, our decision.
What do you think? Did she create the cry or was it from the heart? Does it matter in the end?