The Truth-O-Meter Says:
Obama Girl

"At least Obama didn't marry his cousin," as Giuliani did.

Obama Girl on Thursday, July 19th, 2007 in a YouTube video.

Giuliani's first wife was his second cousin

A wildly popular YouTube video featuring a scantily clad "Obama Girl" -- with no connection to Barack Obama's campaign -- criticizes Rudy Giuliani for marrying his cousin.

Barelypolitical.com produced the video "Debate 08: Obama Girl vs. Giuliani Girl," a follow up to their successful video "I got a crush on Obama," which featured Amber Lee Ettinger lip-synching a song about the Democratic presidential candidate.

In the debate video, another dancer is introduced and the two argue about the merits of their respective candidates. At one point, Obama Girl raps, "Giuliani Girl, just stop your fussing, at least Obama didn't marry his cousin."

We find Obama Girl's claims are accurate.

In 1968, Giuliani wed his second cousin, Regina Peruggi, who was the daughter of his father's first cousin. (Think of your son/daughter marrying your cousin's daughter/son.)

Giuliani at different points labeled the family connection as "second cousins once removed" and "third cousins," before he was corrected, according to news reports. In a 1993 memo for his mayoral campaign, a Giuliani strategist noted the "weirdness" factor of the marriage, according to a copy posted on the Smoking Gun Web site. But such a marriage is completely legal. In New York, even first cousins can wed. Robin Bennett, senior genetic counselor at the University of Washington, said little scientific research exists about the risk of developmental difficulties for the offspring of second cousins. But she said, "for second cousins, the risks are likely similar to the risks of couples from the same ethnic population who also may have common ancestors."

Giuliani and Peruggi did not have any children, and the marriage ended after 14 years.

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About this statement:

Published: Thursday, September 6th, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Subjects: Candidate Biography

Sources:

Interviews with Robin Bennett, senior genetic counselor at the University of Washington.

The Los Angeles Times: May 7, 2007 "Private lives and public tolerance; Giuliani, with two marriages and a messy divorce behind him, hopes the post-Clinton era will be kind to him."

New York Times, "RACE FOR CITY HALL: The Republican Candidate; A Mercurial Mayor's Confident Journey"

The Associated Press, "Rudy Giuliani in a dress: Will voters care?"

The Smoking Gun, Rudy Giuliani's "Vulnerabilities" Memo

Written by: John Frank
Researched by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Edited by: Scott Montgomery

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