- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2000


There was something almost operatic about the dueling press conferences held on Wednesday in Manhattan, first by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and later by his wife, Donna Hanover, during which New Yorkers learned that the couple, married 16 years, would now seek a legal separation. The unfiltered emotion on display Mr. Giuliani's visible sadness, Ms. Hanover's obvious pain conveyed the kind of dramatic force that usually drives heartrending arias, not mayoral news conferences.
Mr. Giuliani, 55, spoke with a quiet frankness about long-standing marital difficulties in remarks that were spontaneous to the point of catching his own senior advisers off guard. Ms. Hanover, after learning of her husband's statements, appeared three hours later outside Gracie Mansion, the mayor's residence, eyes brimming, voice wavering, to express distress at the dissolution of their marriage, projecting a sadness sharply edged in blame as she alluded to unrequited efforts to save their union.
These raw, unscripted performances were inspired by last week's press revelations that Mr. Giuliani has become closely involved over the past year with a divorced mother, Judith Nathan, 45, who works at a pharmaceuticals company. When a reporter asked the mayor yesterday to react to a state Republican leader's expressions of concern that the mayor's marital problems would detract from his New York Senate race against Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Giuliani attempted to explain his predicament, leading to his admission that he and his wife, who have lived, in his words, "independent and separate lives" for some years, were now trying to work out a separation agreement.
While there was no finger-wagging, no witness-coaching and no independent counsel required to uncover the facts, Mr. Giuliani's life personal, public and publicly personal is an unhappy mess. Having just been diagnosed with a treatable but nonetheless life-threatening form of prostate cancer, having just admitted to the end of his marriage and a relationship of significance with another woman, Mr. Giuliani now finds himself and his loved ones in crisis.
No wonder, as he said, "I'm not thinking about politics right now. I'm not. Politics comes at least second, maybe third, maybe fourth, somewhere else. It'll all work itself out politically." Mr. Giuliani is right to try to separate himself from political calculations as much as possible at this time. Not only must he make crucial health decisions about his cancer treatment in the coming weeks, the choice of which may in itself determine whether he remains in the Senate race, but he must also put his home and heart in order before attempting to resolve his political future. Only then can he restore himself in hopes of achieving the peace of mind he needs to face his many challenges.

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