The fallout from a family feud.

Here we were thinking it was the issue of unborn children who might cost Rudy Giuliani the GOP presidential nomination, said Joyce Purnick in The New York Times. Last week, the former New York mayor's own son, Andrew, 21, injected a new dynamic into his father's fledgling presidential campaign by admitting that he's been estranged from his dad for years. Seven years ago, when he was still mayor of New York, Giuliani dumped Andrew's mom, Donna Hanover, for another woman, Judy Nathan. Both Andrew and his sister, Caroline, 17, have sided with Mom. 'œThere's obviously a little problem that exists between me and his wife,' Andrew said of Nathan, whom Giuliani made wife No. 3. Because of the bad blood between Nathan and his kids, Giuliani has been a no-show at Caroline's high school plays and at Andrew's high school graduation. When asked about Andrew's comments, a visibly uncomfortable Giuliani admitted that 'œblended families are challenges … and the challenges are best worked on in private.' But 'œprivate lives have become fair game in politics,' said Marc Humbert in the Associated Press, especially in the socially conservative GOP. Giuliani may still enjoy a big lead in the Republican polls. But once Christian conservatives learn that he began an affair with wife No. 3 while he was still married to wife No. 2, and that his own kids think less of him for it, they might have second thoughts about 'œAmerica's mayor.'

Social conservatives have a higher 'œtolerance for human frailty' than liberals realize, said Zev Chafets in the New York Post. It's no secret that Giuliani's private life, like some of his personal views on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, are at odds with the 'œChristian right's social agenda.' But evangelicals view Giuliani as a fearless leader who made Sin City safe for tourists, and 'œshook his fist at the terrorists on 9/11.' Like evangelicals, Giuliani believes that 'œthe United States is engaged in an actual battle of civilizations,' and they think he's exactly the kind of 'œtough-minded leader' that such a battle requires. Contrary to their reputation as mindless ideologues, evangelicals are capable of pragmatic thinking. If they feel Giuliani is best qualified to defend their way of life against 'œthe Islamic world,' they're prepared to overlook an occasional 'œcultural misdemeanor.'

I'm not buying it, said pollster Stuart Rothenberg in Roll Call. Social conservatives didn't spend 20 years amassing political power so they could nominate a 'œpro-choice, pro-gay-rights, pro-gun control, thrice-married New Yorker' to lead their party. Whatever Rudy's other virtues, said Maggie Gallagher in the New York Post, his marital history—and his 'œpainful' estrangement from his own children—will be very hard to stomach. The issue that defines our movement is The Family. How do we support a candidate whose personal life makes the Clintons' look good?

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You're overthinking this, said George Will in The Washington Post. No politician is perfect, but perfection seems to be the new standard for the current crop of Republican candidates. Conservatives dislike John McCain for his perverse efforts to regulate political speech—'œcampaign finance reform,' as he calls it. They're suspicious of Mitt Romney, who has undergone multiple, recent 'œconversions of convenience,' abandoning long-held liberal positions to suddenly discover he's against abortion, stem-cell research, and gay marriage. Giuliani might be the most 'œcomprehensively out of step with social conservatives,' but his record as mayor of New York is one of the great conservative success stories in recent history. Conservatives may have no one candidate who inspires and unifies the entire movement, but they do have 'œthree good options.' It would be silly, and counterproductive, to insist on perfection.

Los Angeles Times

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