When politicians cry

Here’s the video of Rep. Keith Ellison breaking up while telling the compelling story of a Muslim victim on 9/11:

Ellison made his comments as hearings into the radicalization of Muslims in America opened.

There is no doubt about Ellison’s sincerity in his remarks, the pain he feels, or the sacrifice that Mohammed Salman Hamdani made on 9/11. It’s important to make that clear before asking this question — a far less important question, I acknowledge: What would happen if a woman politician became emotional at a hearing or other political event?

We already know the answer, of course.

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire in 2008, Hillary Clinton teared up and it became the top political story for more than 24 hours…

In 1987, Rep. Pat Schroeder broke into tears when she announced she wasn’t going to run for president. When people talk about the tears of politicians, that moment — along with Edmund Muskie’s Manchester Union Leader tear-up in 1972 — is usually the poster child on the subject.

In 2007, Schroeder told the Associated Press she still gets hate mail about the moment.


Oh, my gosh, I got a devastating e-mail about it from a woman writer just a couple of days ago,” Schroeder said in an interview. “I want to say, ‘Wait a minute, we are talking 20 years ago.’ It’s like I ruined their lives, 20 years ago, with three seconds of catching my breath.”

More recently, though, it was a man criticized for crying. John Boehner, the then-incoming House Speaker, teared up almost on cue when Lesley Stahl interviewed him for 60 Minutes (scroll to the 5:37 mark).

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