Changing times: Politicians' tears more common now

Associated Press Modified: November 9, 2012 at 7:30 am •  Published: November 9, 2012
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It seems out of place: The president of the United States breaking down in tears as he thanked campaign workers for their tireless work for his re-election.

But Barack Obama isn't the only world leader unashamed to be seen crying in public — or simply unable to avoid it. Attitudes seem to have changed since the early 1970s, when an alleged crying incident during the presidential primary season went a long way toward derailing the candidacy of a Maine senator.

The teary trend has picked up speed in recent years, or perhaps it has just been noticed more often because of ubiquitous TV, still and cellphone cameras. Here are some recent examples:

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU

Victorious in his re-election campaign, Obama cried while giving a speech to his campaign staff and volunteers. He told the gathered young people there was no limit to what they could accomplish. The speech touched on his start as a community organizer in Chicago and reflected his faith that his young volunteers and staff would accomplish great things in the decades to come.

It was an emotional side of Obama that had rarely been visible during the long, often negative, campaign.

EVEN STRONG MEN CRY

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a judo fan and hunting aficionado known in part for his physical fitness. But that didn't stop him from welling up in March after he was returned to power in a difficult election battle marred by public protests. It was a break with Kremlin tradition in a country where leaders are rarely seen to show emotions.

A defiant Putin proclaimed that he and his followers had beaten back opponents determined to destroy Russia's statehood and usurp power.

The tears were ridiculed by his political opponents and drew some sarcastic comments from political foes in the United States, but did not seem to harm his standing.

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