Andrew Giuliani Dishes on Problems With Dad

Children of political candidates have long played a part in the lead-up to elections -- but usually, they're smiling and waving on the campaign trial, not speaking poorly of their parents to the press.

It seems Andrew Giuliani missed the memo on how candidates' kids should behave. In an article published Saturday, the 21-year old son of presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told The New York Times about his strained relationship with his father.

Andrew Giuliani dished about his father's divorce from Donna Hanover and marriage to Judith Nathan, and his own plan to not participate in his campaign. He later told ABC News that while he doesn't want to hurt his father, he's also not about to keep quiet.

Asked whether he believes anything he said in the New York Times article could hurt his father, Andrew Giuliani asserted, "I do not want to hurt him."

Support from a Distance

Andrew Giuliani said he and his father have recently tried to reconcile after not speaking "for a decent amount of time." In the Times article, Andrew attributed their strained relationship to Nathan, saying, "There's obviously a little problem that exists between me and his wife."

According to the Times, Rudy Giuliani used to pride himself on attending all his children's events, but at some point after his marriage to Nathan in 2003 he stopped. He missed his son's graduation in 2005 and his 17-year old daughter's plays in the last 18 months.

"We are both working on our relationship," Andrew Giuliani told ABC News. "No matter what he's done, I love my father. He's my father and we love each other. It's not as good as it once was -- but it's better than when it was its lowest, and it is getting better all the time."

"This is something families around the country go through every day," he added. "My friends go through this. But this is front-page news because of who we are."

Andrew Giuliani made clear that despite their personal differences, he fully supports his father's bid for president, and believes he's the right person to run the country.

"I have problems with my father, but it doesn't mean he won't make a great president," he said. "He was a great mayor. He did great things for New York and would be very effective as a president. He is a great leader. He has vision, and he is willing to stand up for what he believes in."

Though he supports his father, Andrew Giuliani does not plan on participating in his campaign. As a Duke University sophomore and aspiring professional golfer, he has no time for distractions.

"I will not be active in his campaign," he said. "I am too busy with golf."

Stage Set for an Ugly Battle

Though Andrew Giuliani said he doesn't want to hurt his father, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley thinks his comments could break Rudy Giuliani's campaign.

"It's a real first strike against the candidate, puts them in a dark deep hole right off the bat," Brinkley said. "It's gonna be ugly. His own son doesn't think he is a man of high moral values."

According to Brinkley, the critical area candidates must keep pristine during the grueling race to the White House is their wholesome family image. Scenes like Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., with his irresistible little girls or Republican Mitt Romney surrounding himself with his children and grandchildren when he announced his run for president are priceless.

"The big moment, the memorable moment, isn't the speech but it's when the candidate steps forward, the wife comes on, the kids rush on and you hear this great 'aww,' and everyone feels there is a specialness to this person," Brinkley said.

Of course, sometimes high-profile kids can throw a curve ball into a tight race.

While many believe 2004 democratic candidate Howard Dean did himself in with his so-called "Dean Scream," his son Paul didn't help when he was arrested for stealing alcohol.

First daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush also made headlines for alleged underage drinking, but have largely avoided the campaign trail. They did make a rare appearance at the 2004 Republican National Convention in a display that some believe wasn't appropriate.

Andrew Giuliani is no stranger to political controversy himself. When his father was inaugurated as New York City's mayor in 1993, the then 6-year-old Andrew Giuliani stole the spotlight by climbing all over his dad during his speech, turning what was supposed to be a staid local ceremony into a national joke.

ABC's Jan Simmonds contributed to this report.