Muskie, after calling Loeb a "gutless coward," passionately praised his wife as a "good woman." He then paused for nearly half a minute, heaving his shoulders, rubbing his nose, obviously shaken and unable to speak.
The large, wet heavy snow flakes dropping -- and melting -- on his face seemed, to some observers, to be commingled with tears. Syndicated columnist David Broder and Time magazine were among those that so reported the event. "Crying out loud" was the caption below a Time photo of Muskie, for example.
Without tears, the Muskie presentation -- like the "Hillary moment" of 2008 -- might well have galvanized support and sympathy for the presidential candidate. But with the perception -- even if not justified -- that tears had in fact flowed, Muskie appeared personally weak, and unnecessarily troubled and vulnerable.Uh-huh.