Clinton has emotional reunion

February 4, 2008 11:06:02 AM PST
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton had an emotional reunion Monday with a colleague from the early days of her legal career as a child advocate. The moment came as she revisited her law school days while hosting a campaign event at the Yale Child Study Center where she first pursued her interest in child advocacy.

Penn Rhodeen, a New Haven public interest lawyer who worked with Clinton as a student, recalled her showing up on his doorstep wearing purple bellbottoms.

"It was so 1972," he recalled, praising Clinton for her longtime interest in helping children.

"Here is the abiding truth we know - you have always been a champion for children. Welcome home, dear friend. We are so proud of you," he said.

Clinton responded emotionally to Rhodeen's praise, at one point wiping her eyes with her hand. But unlike her teary-eyed moment in Portsmouth, N.H., her voice never broke and she tried make light of her emotion.

"I said I would not tear up. Already we're not on that path," Clinton replied to laughs.

Some credited her New Hampshire display of emotion - during a discussion of how she is affected by campaigning for president - with aiding her comeback in that state from an earlier defeat by rival Barack Obama in Iowa.

Generally a stalwart campaigner, Clinton was showing signs of strain Monday - at one point starting to cough uncontrollably in the middle of an economic round-table with a dozen women voters.

"It comes and goes," she said, sipping water to get her cough under control.

It was the first event in a packed schedule the last campaign day before Super Tuesday, when voters in 22 states were headed to the polls. With polls showing the former first lady in a tight race with Obama across several states holding contests, Clinton was making stops later Monday in Massachusetts and in New York, where she was taping the Letterman show and hosting a 90-minute town hall meeting to be broadcast live on the Hallmark Channel.