Gephardt must win the political horsetrading or the 62-year-old Missouri congressman's long political career will be over, the conventional wisdom goes.
And there are signs Gephardt himself takes such a view, the Washington Post reported Monday. More than any other candidates, Gephardt is prone to nostalgia, even sadness.
"Sometimes when I introduce Jane I find myself choking up," Gephardt says of his wife of 37 years.
Or right after a union rally: "I get an emotional jolt when I see these union people. When I look out and see their faces, I see my dad. Truck driver. Never made any money. Lost the job. And we really struggled financially. But he was honest and he never asked for anything."
Gephardt's voice breaks, his eyes mist and he moves on to his mom.
"My mother used to say to me: 'Dick, when things are goin' wild around you, stay calm. Do your best."