Morsels Of Truth
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) performed the Heimlich maneuver on Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, when Sen. McCaskill began choking at a meal attended by several senators.
Manchin saw his fellow senator choking and sprang into action. It has been reported that someone called 911, but that the incident was over before paramedics arrived. This marks the first time in many months that any member of the Senate has completed anything quickly. It also marks the first time in months that two senators, even from the same party, acted in conjunction to achieve a successful outcome.
“Look,” is what I bet Manchin would say if I had the chance to interview him, “Sen. McCaskill and I have a lot in common. We’re both moderate Democrats in fiercely Republican states running in tight reelection campaigns. I would save the life of any senator from any party, but Claire and I have a special bond. It’s not an accident I was near her when she started choking. Nobody else will with sit us. We’re too moderate for some, too conservative for others. We only have each other. We sit in the lunch room at a table all by ourselves. I sorta thought being a Senator would make me a cool kid, but this is just like high-school all over again.”
Senator McCaskill did not say, “I started choking when Joe got me laughing. See, there’s this joke. A Missouri moderate senator and a West Virginia moderate senator walk into a Mexican restaurant and the owner can’t decide whether or not to throw them out. I laughed so hard I started choking.”
Sen. McCaskill suffered a bruised or possibly broken rib in the incident.
I wish I had heard Sen. Manchin say, “I’m sorry I broke her rib. It was an emergency. I tried a conservative squeeze at first. When that didn’t dislodge the food she was choking on, I had to do a more liberal thrust.”
“I wish everyone in Washington worked that way,” McCaskill continued to not have said. “If one approach doesn’t work, try another. We might end up with a few bruised ribs, but at least we’d get things done.”
Bil Lepp is a nationally renowned storyteller and a PEN Award winning author. To see more of Bil's WV Strong content click here.