Tears and emotions in full flow

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 in recent years, or perhaps has just been noticed more often because of ubiquitous television, still and cellphone cameras. Here are some recent examples:

The Grateful President

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. 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.

NOT READY TO LEAVE

She was known as a strong, even imperious leader who thrived on power politics and led Britain in the war to recover the Falklands Islands. But the enduring image of Margaret Thatcher's departure from office is the tearful face captured in 1990 as she left 10 Downing Street for the last time. The "iron lady" was removed as party leader and prime minister after 11 years in power and replaced by John Major. The crying incident is remembered as offering a rare glimpse into her personal feelings, which were typically kept far from public view.

GOODBYE, the MAN FROM MAINE

Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie was a front-runner in the race for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination until he appeared to break down while defending his wife from an attack by a New Hampshire paper. he always claimed it was snowflakes, but damage had been done. His supposed crying was perceived as a show of weakness and instability, and his campaign never recovered.

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