Posted at 11:19 AM on December 31, 2011
by Emily Kaiser
Filed under: Iowa
Could a teary-eyed Newt Gingrich scare voters away? The Des Moines Register tracked down "an Iowa political scientist who has researched campaign tears" to find out.
During a public appearance Friday, the former U.S. House speaker choked up while speaking about his mentally-ill mother. The comment came up when he was asked how she influenced his views.
The most critical element for Gingrich: Will voters perceive his emotion as sincere?
If yes, he just might see a bump at one of the most pivotal points in any presidential campaign: the cusp of the Iowa caucuses.
"If people find it to be sincere, then I think it can be a real boost, particularly for men and particularly because he was talking about his mother and how that changed him as a person," said Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics.
In case you missed Gingrich's tearful moment, here's the video:
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images