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Does crying change your opinion of politicians?

Categories: Politics, World

A video of Barack Obama tearfully thanking Democratic campaign volunteers the night of his election victory in Chicago has been watched more than a million times since it appeared on Obama's YouTube channel yesterday evening. 

After his victory, Obama didn't really have to worry how the display of emotion would affect his poll numbers, but his staff clearly believed that it would not embarrass the president. 

This isn't always the case for American politicians. Take Republican House Leader John Boehner. Boehner has cried in TV interviews. 

He cried when Republicans took a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections. 

And he appeared to choke back tears when Obama praised him during the 2011 state of the union address. 

For wearing his emotions on his sleeve, Boehner has been the butt of many a late-night comedian's jokes, like this sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

But even more subtle displays of emotion from politicians can get tongues wagging in the U.S. 

Almost five years ago, when American Democrats were still deciding who would run for president in the 2008 election, Hillary Clinton was answering questions from supporters at a campaign stop. 

Her voice cracked, a little, and her eyes welled up as she described how difficult it was personally to run for the party's nomination for president. 

Columnists in the U.S. called her everything from weak to tired, from fearful to disingenuous. 

"She pretended to cry, the women felt sorry for her, and she won," wrote Bill Kristol after Clinton won the subsequent New Hampshire primary. 

Examples of Canadian politicians crying are a little harder to come by, a fact spoofed by the Royal Canadian Air Farce shortly after Clinton's "outburst." (Double click to play.) 

Still, Canadian politicians have been known to shed a tear from time to time.

Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty was moved listening to a speaker during an announcement about Registered Disability Savings Plans in Ottawa on October 21. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty "wept unabashedly," the Canadian Press said last year, when he announced a plan to review the Registered Disability Savings Plan. Although he didn't mention him during the announcement, one of his triplet sons, John, has a learning disability and has been involved in the Special Olympics program.

Helena Guergis cried during a news conference held one year after she was kicked out of the Conservative caucus over unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, extortion and involvement with prostitutes. Guergis said Prime Minister Stephen Harper "tossed me under a bus" and didn't give her a chance to defend herself. 

And nearly 20 years ago, Kim Campbell wiped away a single tear during her concession speech following her party's loss in the 1993 election.

Does a politician crying change your opinion of him or her? Let us know in the comments below.

Tags: Politics, POV

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