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    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Intrusive Homelife: Does it matter if a candidate is glued to his wife?

    The fact is that people inside the Giuliani campaign are appalled at the number of times their candidate has felt compelled to interrupt public appearances to take calls from his wife. The estimate from those in a position to know is that he has taken such calls more than 40 times in the middle of speeches, conferences and presentations to large donors. "If it's a stunt, it's not one coming from him," says one Giuliani staffer. "It's an ongoing problem that he won't take advice on."

    And in trying to explain his odd behavior, Mr. Giuliani has only dug himself in deeper. On Friday he told David Brody of CBN News that since 9/11, when he and Mrs. Giuliani get on a plane, "most of the time . . . we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other." He admitted he had taken calls from his wife "before in engagements, and I didn't realize it would create any kind of controversy." That's hardly possible. Giuliani staffers say he has been warned over and over again that the phone calls are rude and inappropriate and have alienated everyone from local officials to top donors to close friends.

    Consider a spring incident in Oklahoma City. Mr. Giuliani spoke twice at the Oklahoma History Center, first at a small private roundtable for $2,300 donors and then to 150 people who donated $500 apiece. Ten minutes into the roundtable, Mr. Giuliani's phone rang. He left the room to take the call, apparently from Mrs. Giuliani, and never returned. The snubbed donors received no explanation. "The people there viewed it as disrespectful and cheesy," says Pat McGuigan, a local newspaper editor who was asked by the Giuliani campaign to moderate the roundtable.

    An hour or so later, Mr. Giuliani was speaking to the bigger group of donors when his phone rang again. While he spoke with his wife, he invited her to say hello to the assembled crowd. "It was remarkable, and was not viewed by the audience in a positive way," public relations executive Brenda Jones told me.

    I've been told of many other incidents, from a California fund-raiser to a Florida speech to a gathering with top donors at Bear Stearns in New York. At the Bear Stearns meeting, Mr. Giuliani took a call from his wife and then noting the strained faces of his supporters, he sheepishly tried a joke. "I've been married three times," he explained. "I can't afford to lose another one. I'm sure you understand." (Mr. Giuliani's media office didn't return a call I made to them on Friday afternoon.)

    This brought back memories of people I've known. There was the doctor who was always a half hour late coming back from lunch (spent daily with his wife) who used the same excuse about multiple marraiges. There was another who was perpetually behind because his wife paged him several times a day. He always dutifully left the exam room to answer his page, as if every one were an emergency. Judging from the office end of the conversations, they never were - "Yes. Yes. I love you, too."

    There was always a general disdain in the workplace for these men. For one thing, it's irritating to the staff who are trying to get a job done only to be constantly delayed by the out of skew priorities of their boss. For another, it sends a loud and strong signal that nothing is as important to these men as their wives. And they are always men, never women, as the inelegant phrase that so aptly describes their emotional servitude proves.

    There's probably no hope for Guiliani. He's smitten to the point of delusion. Which is too bad, because there are a lot of people who would vote for Rudy, but not for Judy.

    posted by Sydney on 10/02/2007 06:46:00 AM 7 comments


    "Yes. Yes. I love you, too."

    That sounds so much like the Cheers episode with John Cleese, talking to his wife on the phone.

    By Anonymous Bruce Small, at 12:09 PM  

    Wow, this post made me laugh. Given that none of us will be following him home at night or after he steps down from office, it doesn't seem a slight that he's putting the one person who is first.Granted it can seem annoying to the rest of us from time to time, but in a culture where half of all marriages end in divorce, it's nice to see a man who is admitting to have learned some lessons in love and applying them. Hopefully he'll find more balance, but I admire a man gutsy enough to follow his heart. And It takes a lot of work to make a marriage, any marriage work.

    By Anonymous Dara, at 7:37 PM  

    Sounds like a man trying to keep his wife happy...out of desperation to keep her from leaving him in the middle of a presidential campaing.

    But what does it say about the wife's insecurities? I mean, what kind of wife keeps phoning and phoning her husband? I mean, it's not like he is sneaking out on her (the press would report it). So why does she phone?

    Look for a divorce after the campaign...one doubts Mr. G will put up with this nonsense any longer. I mean, he was treated for prostate cancer, and the "romance" started when he was presumably on anti hormone injections...

    By Blogger boinky, at 10:05 PM  

    Vanity Fair magazine pointed out that the position of "Mrs. G." has, historically, not been too secure.

    It causes me to think they are both unstable, and probably not good prospects for the role of First Family.

    By Blogger RoseAG, at 7:44 PM  

    Y'know, the bigger question is: do we want the leader of our country to believe NOTHING is more important than taking an unimportant call from his wife?

    My sweetie and I say "I love you" all the time, but if one of us calls the other in the middle of a meeting it's understood we'll call back later. And I have no qualms about losing him (nor he me) as a result.

    Personally, thought I hate the phrase, I don't think a "whipped" man should lead the largest power in the world. I wouldn't vote for a "whipped" woman either (and you don't see Hilary taking calls from Bill on the campaign trail).

    By Anonymous Laura, at 6:21 PM  

    Hilary hasn't taken calls from Bill since around 1989

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