Portsmouth, New Hampshire (CNN)Marianne Pernold now calls it "the chick question." She had no idea it would elicit one of the most memorable moments of Hillary Clinton's first presidential campaign.
Meet the woman who almost made Hillary Clinton cry in 2008
She didn't want to ask about policy. She wasn't looking for a scripted answer about experience. She simply wanted to ask Clinton: How do you do it?
"I admire her and I wanted to know her as a woman," says Pernold, now 71, recalling the day back in January 2008 that she never expected to happen. "It was a chick question."
It was the eve of the New Hampshire primary, with Clinton fighting to rebound from her bruising third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, when she came face-to-face with Pernold. Clinton paused for nearly 10 seconds before offering up one of the most emotional and raw moments of her campaign.
Whether Clinton's eyes actually welled up with tears here in the dining room of Café Espresso quickly was overtaken by the endless analysis of the exchange. (Pernold still does not believe they did.) Yet she was moved by Clinton's answer, particularly when she declared: "You know, this is very personal to me. It's not just political."
"Where's my thank you note?" Pernold asked, laughing that she unwittingly helped her win the New Hampshire primary.
Still, Pernold decided to cast her ballot for Barack Obama back then, a decision she says she has never regretted.
But as Clinton opens her second bid for the White House, arriving in New Hampshire on Monday, Pernold is watching closely. So far, she says, she likes what she sees from Clinton's reintroduction tour.
"She's having more fun. She's not as stressed-out looking," Pernold told CNN in an interview here. "And I don't think she has anything to prove anymore because she knows she did a great job."
When asked what, specifically, she likes more about Clinton the second time around, Pernold reflected upon Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. Pernold said Clinton's announcement video, along with images from her first week of campaigning, seem to suggest she is willing to show a "softer" side.
"She looks much more vibrant," Pernold said, adding: "I like her more because she didn't give up."
While Pernold spoke glowingly of her candidacy, she said Clinton faced a difficult campaign. She said she would reserve judgment before promising her vote.
"I don't know who else is running," she said with a laugh. "You can't pin me down like that!"
But if she encounters her on the campaign trail this time around, Pernold says she has a new question. She wants to know how Clinton intends to use her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in her candidacy or the White House, if she wins.
"How much are you going to rely on his advice? Are you going to use him as an ally?" Pernold said. "They're a team -- a goofy marriage, but a team, you know? He has a lot to offer. He's a brilliant man."