Mitt's waterworks: cause for concern?

As the Herald's Jessica Van Sack notes, Mitt Romney has been choking up a lot lately. On Sunday, he did it while discussing the LDS Church's past exclusion of blacks from the priesthood on Meet the Press (see above). And yesterday, according to the AP, the tears came as Romney recalled watching a soldier's body being returned via casket from Iraq.

But Van Sack and the AP are forgetting another teary Romney moment. This one came in his much-ballyhooed "Faith in America" speech on December 6. Here's how Salon's Walter Shapiro described it:

[O]n Thursday something happened that Romney could not control. At the end of his speech in Texas on his Mormon faith and his view of religion in public life, he got emotional. He lost it in the tiniest way.

He was recalling the early days of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, on the brink of the Revolutionary War, when the early Americans from various faiths were gathered together. They wanted to pray, Romney said, but they did not know whose prayer to use.

"Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot," Romney said, reading off the teleprompter. "And so together they prayed, and together they fought, and together, by the grace of God, they founded this great nation."

The crowd began to applaud, and Romney's chin appeared to tense. In the slightest way, his eyes seemed to moisten. For an instant he looked vulnerable, like a young man who had been moved by his own words, by his own hopes for his country. The preselected crowd, sensing this, rose to its feet with a standing ovation. There were only three sentences left in the speech, but the whole event was put on hold. After a few more seconds, Romney collected himself and finished the speech. [emph. added]

What's with all the waterworks? As a Romney skeptic, my cynical take is that, with folksy Mike Huckabee breathing down his neck, Romney is deliberately working to soften up his Stepford Husband image.

Then again, maybe Romney's tears have been genuine. In that case, though, shouldn't the electorate be concerned?

I'm serious here. Remember, one tearing-up moment destroyed Edmund Muskie's presidential hopes in 1972--and now Romney has gotten misty three times in short succession. Even if standards have changed when it comes to male crying, that's an awful lot of barely controlled emotion for an aspiring president.

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