The framed photo of the perfect political family won't be mounted on Rudy Giuliani's wall anytime soon.
The former New York City mayor and Republican presidential contender's strained family ties were on full display Friday at his youngest daughter Caroline's high school graduation ceremony in New York.
Giuliani and his third wife, Judith, sat far away from his former wife of 18 years, Donna Hanover, who came early to get good seats with her new husband and Giuliani's estranged son, Andrew. Giuliani arrived late and left early, avoiding any interaction with his ex-wife and children.
It was the first time Giuliani attended one of his children's high school graduation ceremonies. He skipped his son's and in March of this year, and later Andrew let it be known that he had a tense relationship with his father and step-mother.
Glazing Over the Past
Eight months before the first Republican primary, Giuliani is leading the pack. However, with the his family strife on full display, some are questioning whether his personal life will be a turn-off with the conservative base.
"I think a lot of voters already know about it," said national political consultant Joseph Mercurio. "He also has an air about him about redemption: 'That was in the past, I'm married again, my current wife approves of me.'"
Giuliani's marital history has certainly never been kept secret. He announced his divorce from Hanover in a press conference before he'd even told her the news. Now his campaign tries to look beyond the past, only posting pictures and information about his current wife on his Web site and leaving out Hanover and his two children.
Mercurio, who is not currently affiliated with a campaign, said not having his children on the campaign trail is unlikely to cause a problem.
"I think that's an overdone thing. A lot of candidates, especially when they have young children, they don't campaign with them," he said.
"What you can say is he probably would be further ahead had these things not been there," Mercurio added. "To a large extent, this is already discounted."
Giuliani is not the only candidate facing family drama. The Clintons have had their dirty laundry under a microscope for decades -- and despite it all, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is still ahead in the national Democratic primary polls.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who spoke at the graduation ceremony and said he was glad Giuliani was there, put the situation into perspective.
"I think it's important for every parent to be there for their kids," Schumer told WABC in New York. "You can have difficult family situations, but you should always be there for your kids."