dom parsing xml file

I am using DOM to parse an XML file. During the parsing process, the following function call is made:
date_transact = self.get_node_data(mynode.getElementsByTagName("transaction-date"))

wherein, get_node_data is defined as:

    def get_node_data(self, data_node):
        node_data  = None
        for subnode in data_node:
             if(subnode.firstChild != None):
                if subnode.firstChild.hasChildNodes():
                    node_data = subnode.firstChild.firstChild.data
                else:
                    node_data = subnode.firstChild.data
             else:
                node_data = subnode.nodeValue
        return node_data

ISSUE: the code above works if the transaction date value appears on the same line:
 <transaction-date> <date>20140401</date></transaction-date>

The retrieved date string is blank if the xml file lists different elements on different lines:
  <transaction-date>
    <date>20140401</date>
  </transaction-date>

Any thoughts as to why I am unable to retrieve the transaction date listed on a separate line?
cyber-33Asked:
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Jan LouwerensSoftware EngineerCommented:
There may be child nodes that are simply text nodes containing the whitespace text.
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