"Cate sticks with her dad," family friend Glenn Bergenfield tells The New York Times. "Despite all the things that have happened, she wants her father to succeed and her family to stay together. It's not any more complicated than that."
But it is complicated. When a politician cheats, his wife has a choice: stay or go. His kids don't get the same option.
Seventeen-year-old Patrick Schwarzenegger expressed as much in his tweet shortly after news broke of his father's love-child, writing: "Some days you feel like s---, some days you want to quit and just be normal for a bit, yet I love my family till death do us apart."
For a child of scandal, there's no divorce and no escaping the legacy of your parent's mistakes. And it's especially traumatizing if you're still a kid when it all goes down.
"At a time when you are developing opinions, having some one that you idealized proved a hypocrite by the public could impact your ability to trust authority and perhaps people in general," explains Lee Shapiro, a licensed clinical psychologist who works in New York City.
It's particularly hard for daughters whose fathers commit the crime. "Show me the relationship between daughter and dad and I'll tell you how it is between daughter and boyfriend," child trauma psychologist Robert Butterworth told the New York Post back in 1998, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. "If something causes mistrust, there's a tendency to be mistrustful of other men."
Chelsea Clinton was just a teenager when the details of her dad's misconduct with a woman close to her age emerged. So was Elyssa Spitzer, whose prom photos were published on Gawker shortly after her dad was linked to a prostitution ring. Being forced to learn about adult sexuality through the lens of your father has to leave marks.
"A father represents to a daughter a kind of ideal, and often unconsciously a woman looks for the traits of her father in a potential mate," Robert Scuka, executive director of the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement told ABC News in 2008 when Spitzer earned the title 'Client 9'. "For any child, and particularly a daughter, when a father is engaged in something like this it calls into question the ability to trust any man."
But it's not all damage done. When the parents lose their power, kids learn the kinds of lesson you can't teach. For example: "Sometimes we forgive people cause we want them back in our lives." That's a line Katherine Schwarzenegger retweeted when her father's scandal broke.
Cate Edwards also came to that conclusion after losing her mother to cancer last year. She's stepped in as caretaker for her adolescent siblings and now, as a legal and emotional supporter of her dad. In a profile of Cate, the Times calls her the "glue" that has kept her family together.
"Maybe these kids are well prepared for the future having dealt with something on this scale," suggests Shapiro. "The ability to manage public perception of one's personal life has proven a valuable asset in today's world and that's definitely something they learn."
For Elyssa Spitzer, now a star reporter for the Harvard Crimson, the scandal may have offered firsthand insight into the way the media really works, priming her for a career in journalism. Even Mark Sanford's four young sons seem to have grown media savvy since their father's affair was exposed. On moving day at the governor's house, the pre-teen Sanford boys charmed press waiting outside by flashing sports signs and stuffed animals through the window. In a way, these kids are more adept at handling public exposure than most grown-ups.
Chelsea Clinton, too, has grown into a woman comfortable in the spotlight as her "wedding of the century" would suggest. Still, the scars of her father's past are there. In 2007, while campaigning for her mother, she was asked about her family's handling of Lewinsky-gate in a Q&A session. Her stinging retort: "I don't think that's any of your business."
But in the age of the Internet, political scandals are everyone's business and they don't go away.
It's something Anthony Weiner's future child will be learning soon enough. As graphic photos and transcripts of Congressman Weiner's online affairs were imprinted across the web this week, the saddest report was that his wife was with child. Being born stuck with the shrapnel of a political scandal isn't going to be easy.
"In the end, all you hope is that the parent be a genuine and consistent presence in the child's life, and have some ability to talk about difficult feelings," says Shapiro. "Sadly the behavior of some of these politicians would indicate sensitivity is not always in their make-up."