Monday, January 14, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Moment

While on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton spoke at a Portsmouth coffee shop on Monday, January 7th, 2008 with a group of 16 undecided voters. When she was asked how she remains “so upbeat and wonderful” under the stress of the campaign trail, Clinton responded in an uncharacteristically (as we’ve come to know her in the public eye) emotional, personal way.

After responding, “You know, I have so many opportunities from this country; I just don’t want to see us fall backwards.” Senator Clinton’s eyes well up with tears for a moment and she shakes her head “no”, her voice trailing off.

What she showed in that famous 1 min. 48 seconds, fits into three categories.

Social Smile
Despite the “Moment” being famous for Senator Clinton suddenly showing vulnerability, she showed numerous social smiles throughout, including when she reacts to the question of who does her hair and acknowledging that the campaign trail is tiring.

She also showed a fair number of angry, determined looks. When referencing her opponents’ readiness for the office, Clinton makes the point that “some of us are right, and some of us are wrong”, she becomes very steely-eyed and tightens her lips.

Misty Eyes
Finally, there are the other notable examples of body language. These include Clinton’s quavering voice, brief quivering upper lip and the eyes seemingly misting with tears. She rests her hand on her cheek, microphone in the other, while making direct eye contact.


Overall, Clinton managed to mix relaxed, social smiles with mini-flashes of anger all in righteous indignation while attacking opponents. This performance was far from an emotional breakdown; however, we were all afforded a glimpse of the softer, more human side of Senator Clinton.

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