THE BLOG
09/21/2007 01:03 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Stumbling onto Giuliani's Open Secret

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani's personal life has been a mess for quite a while. No one needs to go dumpster diving to learn the details; they're all out in the open -- three marriages (including one to his cousin), repeated extra-marital affairs, left his second wife by way of a press conference (he told reporters before telling his spouse), estranged from his kids. "Family Man of the Year" he is not.

Apparently, though, no one is supposed to talk about this. Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D), a close Hillary Clinton ally, had the audacity to allude to reality during a TV interview this week, and all of a sudden, our suddenly-scandal-averse press corps are all a flutter.

Rudolph W. Giuliani's marital history seeped into the presidential campaign yesterday, a day after a supporter of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton drew attention to Mr. Giuliani's personal life in a television interview in New York.

Mr. Vilsack told New York 1, the cable news channel, that voters in the rest of the country would come to know details about Mr. Giuliani's life that people in New York have known for years.... Pressed for details, Mr. Vilsack replied: "I can't even get into the number of marriages and the fact that his children -- the relationship he has with his children -- and what kind of circumstance New York was in before September the 11th and whether or not he could have even been re-elected as mayor prior to September the 11th."

The Giuliani campaign swiftly linked the remarks to Mrs. Clinton. "It's not surprising the Clinton campaign is going negative and personal so early," a statement from the Giuliani camp said.

Maybe someone can explain this to me. Rudy Giuliani is willing to march in a St. Patrick's Day Parade with his mistress -- an acknowledgement of infidelity so audacious that an NYC columnist compared it with "groping in the window at Macy's" -- but in the midst of a presidential campaign, it's wrong to suggest that Giuliani has a messy personal life?

Who wrote these rules? And why didn't they apply in the 1990s?

Even Giuliani said at a recent GOP debate, "The reality is that I think someone's private life, someone's family life, is something that you all look into to determine how are they going to conduct themselves in public office."

With this in mind, why do reporters want us to believe that Vilsack did something wrong by alluding to accurate scandals that the media already knows about?