With the current barrage of political grandstanding in the US, it can be refreshing to see politicians looking unguarded, once in a while. It’s not by accident that US Republican presidential contender Donald Trump opened his gilded Manhattan triplex and lavish upstate New York estate for the current US Weekly (Feb. 8) issue. The Clintons have hosted Oprah in their Chappaqua residence, while George W. Bush and John Kerry have graced the covers of Ladies Home Journal.

Being seen relaxing at home can warm up anyone’s public image. Opening their doors to the press was a tactic that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma famously deployed in 2011, when they allowed themselves to be photographed playing with their children on their kitchen floor. After the Assad regime was accused of human rights atrocities months later, Vogue magazine tried in vain to scrub the Internet of its glowing family profile.

As heard on The Hagmann Report