ISome thought it was cute when Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani answered a cell phone call from his wife during his speech to the National Rifle Association.

Those more skeptic, like myself, thought it was silly and contrived.

Nothing, after all, says, “I'm trying too hard,” like trying too hard.

When Giuliani's phone began ringing while he was on stage addressing a large audience, he fished it out of his jacket pocket and answered.

“Hello, dear,” he said. “I'm talking to the members of the NRA right now. Would you like to say hello?”

He ended the call with two “I love yous” and one promise to call her when he was finished.

How's that for happily married?

Candidates seeking the presidency are doing back flips in their quest to show the public that they really are married to their soul mates. By the way, this is Giuliani's third attempt at happily-ever-after.

Although you gotta give the guy credit for believing in love, the sappy phone calls in public forums need to disappear. Fast.

The former mayor of New York is not the only candidate gazing a little too lovingly into their spouse's eyes when the camera is rolling. Potential First Ladies (and one first, First Man) are putting their best face forward and making their presence known. Candidates seem to be saying to voters, “Pick me and get my smart spouse too.”

Like a two for one deal.

The problem is, candidates are trying to say that, yes, they love their spouse and value their opinion. But when it comes to factoring in their thoughts on the best way to run the country, their advice won't matter.

To think pillow talk won't shape public policy is naïve - and frankly a little weird - if you expect those who shape it to have a somewhat normal marriage. Married couples, after all, like to share their opinions about what the other is doing.

In my boudoir, at the end of a long day, it's common for my husband to whisper sweet nothings in my ear like, “When are you going to start running those sub-varsity scores?”

Apparently, there aren't a lot of perks to sleeping with an editor, but he's making the best of it. And while I may not always act on his suggestions, his advice weighs in on my daily decision making. (Notice we now have sub-varsity standings.)

To believe the president won't do the same - and to expect anything less - is absurd.

Almost as absurd as answering the cell phone in the middle of a speech.

SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.