Hung Up on
As Rudy Giuliani has jumped to the top of most national polls for the GOP presidential race, one lingering question has been: would his less than idyllic family situation end up dragging him down among social conservatives in key early voting states like Iowa and South Carolina?
Yesterday, the issue finally flared up at a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire. With her five-year-old daughter playing nearby, Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien, 36, asked Giuliani why he should expect loyalty from GOP voters when own his children aren't backing him.
Slate magazine reported that Giuliani's 17-year-old daughter belonged to a Facebook group of Barack Obama supporters, and his 21-year-old son, a student at Duke University, has said he does not expect to campaign for his father. Giuliani's relations with his son have been strained since Giuliani's bitter divorce from his second wife and marriage to his third wife, Judith Nathan, whom he met while he was married. His first marriage, to his second cousin, was annulled.
Giuliani's answer, according to the Associated Press: "I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America. The best thing I can say is kind of, 'Leave my family alone,' just like I'll leave your family alone.'"
Prudhomme-O'Brien was ambivalent about his answer. "If a person is running for president, I would assume their children would be behind them," she said afterward. "If they're not, you've got to wonder." The issue is "going to stay there for a lot of people."
If there is any solace for Giuliani, it is that he is not alone in having a less than ideal family narrative. Presumptive candidate Fred Thompson has already faced scrutiny for the central role being played in his campaign by his second wife, who is 24 years his junior. John McCain married his second wife, a beer heiress nearly 20 years his junior, one month after divorcing his first. Even Mitt Romney, who has a picture-perfect home life, has faced some flak for his family, having to defend his five grown sons for their decision not to serve in the military.
Family complications for GOP candidates have put their Democratic counterparts in the unlikely position of being able to lord their own home life over them.
Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic married to the same woman more than 30 years, seized this opening more explicitly than anyone else this week when he recalled his daily train travel from D.C. to his home in Delaware. "I can hardly wait for one of these guys on the other side to tell me about family values. I can hardly wait for them to tell me -- a guy who's commuted for 34 years to get home and put my kids to bed," Biden said.
Posted by: nealeal | August 17, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: smc91 | August 17, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dailykos1 | August 17, 2007 1:15 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.