I don't know if a woman would be given a pass necessarily. That's one of those things where a double standard is applied. I'm sure if I got up there and did a speech, and I started breaking down and cried about how important it is to me that our children and grandchildren are provided great opportunities, I'm sure I would be knocked a little bit for that.
Absolutely. Stereotypes still rule how we conduct politics in a lot of ways. Men have far more freedom to adopt different styles, from tough-guy cowboy to blubbering softie, while women, for the most part, are still expected to wear a veneer of upright seriousness, lest they be described as overly emotional.
I'd take it a step further and say that President Obama has to deal with some of the same stuff on the race front. The second he loses his composure, he's seen as an "angry black man" rather than the president of the United States. But I'm guessing Palin and I differ on this point.