The Times went all gossipy on the Republican front-runner in Saturday's story, "Noticeably Absent from the Giuliani Campaign: His Children," by Russ Buettner and Richard Perez-Pena. The text box read: "Other candidates use their families as an asset, but Giuliani cannot."
(Pena, who is on the Giuliani for President beat, wrote a negative article on Giuliani two weeks ago whichcomplained in a headline that Giuliani was "seeing only softballs" when it came to questions on the campaign trail.)
Below two photos of Mayor Giuliani in 1994 wasthe caption: "Rudolph W. Giuliani at his inaugural as mayor of New York in 1994, where his son, Andrew, 7, captured the show. But Andrew was not at events like the one in Spartanburg, S.C., last month, right, part of Mr. Giuliani's bid for the presidency; Andrew Giuliani says they are estranged."
"As he embarks on a campaign for the presidency, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is going forward without two people who once played supporting roles in his political life: his children, Andrew, 21, and Caroline, 17.
"Andrew Giuliani has been at his father's side in campaign commercials and inaugurations since he was a toddler, famously bounding across the stage in a rambunctious manner and mimicking his father's rhetorical flourishes during Mr. Giuliani's 1994 mayoral inauguration.
"But Mr. Giuliani's relationship with Andrew has grown strained and distant since his very public and bitter divorce from Andrew's mother, Donna Hanover, and his marriage to Judith Nathan, according to Andrew and others familiar with the relationship.
"In a telephone interview yesterday, Andrew, a sophomore and member of the golf team at Duke University, acknowledged having had difficulties with Ms. Nathan, and said that he and his father had recently tried to reconcile after not speaking 'for a decent amount of time.'
"'There's obviously a little problem that exists between me and his wife,' the younger Mr. Giuliani said. 'And we're trying to figure that out. But as of right now it's not working as well as we would like.'
"Andrew Giuliani said he would not participate in his father's campaign, saying his devotion to becoming a professional golfer within three years allows no time for distraction.
"While he would not say how long he had been estranged from his father, others close to the family said it appeared to have been for at least a year."
It's sleazy enough that the Times drags the college-aged Andrew into the campaign mix, but they mentions Giuliani's high-school daughter as well, gossiping: "Similarly, a distance appears to have developed between Mr. Giuliani and his daughter, now a high school senior who is to attend Harvard University in September.
"The familial tensions come as Mr. Giuliani prepares to run for president and as other Republican contenders deploy their children as campaign assets."
The story took on the feel of a tabloid:
"The Giuliani campaign declined to comment about the former mayor's relationship with his children, and Ms. Hanover did not respond to messages left at her home and office.
"Mr. Giuliani once prided himself on attending all his children's events and went to Andrew's high school football games and Caroline's plays. But he stopped at some point after his marriage to Ms. Nathan in 2003. He missed his son's graduation, in 2005, and his daughter's plays in the last 18 months, said people who attended those events."
Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters addressed the double standard on Saturday; Bill and Hillary Clinton's daughter Chelsea didn't get anything like this kind of scrutiny in early 1998, back when Chelsea was an 18-year-old college freshman and her father's dalliances with White House intern Monica Lewinsky were making worldwide headlines. Then, the media insisted that 18-year-old Chelsea be left to her privacy during the scandal. But apparently now the 21-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter of a Republican front-runner are undeserving of equal protection, even when reporting such a non-story as Giuliani's marital history.