Hillary's Muskie Moment

Amanda Carpenter

1/7/2008 1:41:04 PM - Amanda Carpenter

After suffering a crippling third-place finish in Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton choked up with tears when a New Hampshire voter asked her Monday “how she does it.”

“I have so many opportunities in this country, I just don’t want to see us fall backwards,” she said with her voice breaking and appearing to hold back tears.

“This is very personal for me,” Clinton told a group of nearly 15 women at the Café Espresso in Portsmouth. “It’s not just political, it’s not just public. I see what’s happening and we have to reverse it. And some people think elections are a game, who is up and whose down, but it’s about our futures and it’s really about all of us together.”

The powerful Drudge Report published a banner story Monday morning that said Clinton was considering dropping out of the presidential race if she kept losing early primary states by double-digits, although Clinton said she would stay in the race until “Tsunami Tuesday” on February 5th in an interview on CBS that morning.

Clinton also made some indirect comparisons to her chief rival Barack Obama, who handily beat her and John Edwards in the Hawkeye State and maintains a substantial lead over both of them in New Hampshire polls.

“You know some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds and we do each one of use because we care about our country and some of us are right and some of us are wrong,” Clinton said. “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 really haven’t thought that through enough. And so when we look at the array of problems we have and the potential for really spinning out of control this is one of the most important elections America has ever really faces. So, as tired as I am and I am and as difficult as it is to keep up what I try to do on the road like occasionally try to exercise and try to eat right, it’s tough when the easiest food is pizza. I just believe so strongly in who we are as a nation, so I am going to do everything I can to try to make my case and let the voters decide. Thank you.”

In 1972, Democrat Ed Muskie’s presidential campaign was derailed when he tearfully defended his wife from attacks on her personal character. Shortly after Clinton gave her emotional answer, the Wall Street Journal and other publications immediately started to wonder “Could this be her Edmund Muskie moment?”