Out Pops Politics

Thursday, March 2, 2006

ANYONE WOULD have tried to help Jim Rosapepe when a nugget of seafood became lodged in his throat at an Annapolis restaurant the other night. But the man who did help wasn't just anyone: It was Maryland state Sen. John Giannetti, whom Rosapepe has been preparing to run against in a primary. That a politician should be on the spot to assist his rival with the Heimlich maneuver at a possibly critical moment is astounding. That this apparently human episode would immediately take on a political hue is not.

In the brief moment it took Mr. Giannetti

to act, what flashed through his head, by his own account, was the price he might pay if

he didn't. "What immediately came to mind was, 'I have to act. It would be seen as wrong

if I don't act; I have to go try and rescue him,' " the freshman senator told the Diamondback, the University of Maryland's student newspaper.

As for Mr. Rosapepe, a former state delegate, former ambassador to Romania and now a regent of Maryland's state university system, he let it be known that while some food was indeed stuck in his throat, and while he was indeed seeking help, he was neither choking nor in grave peril, as Mr. Giannetti seemed to suggest.

The incident was over in seconds. Mr. Rosapepe returned to his table and finished his meal. Mr. Giannetti went home with the takeout he had ordered. Mr. Rosapepe said he was grateful. Mr. Giannetti joshed him about not chewing his food. And as word of the event reverberated around the state capital, the Democratic Senate president, Thomas V. Mike Miller, expressed hope that the two men, fellow Democrats, would strive for "a more uplifting campaign." "I mean, I would think you'd be very hard-pressed to say anything bad about a man who saved your life," he told The Post's Matthew Mosk.

Well, we're certainly pleased that Mr. Rosapepe is all right. And we tip our hat to Mr. Giannetti for his quick reaction. It's a terrific story. But an uplifting campaign? Don't hold your breath.

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