Beyond The Call Of Duty: A Short List Of Heroic Acts By Politicians | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Beyond The Call Of Duty: A Short List Of Heroic Acts By Politicians

After rescuing his neighbor from a burning building, Newark Mayor Cory Booker joins an elite list of politicians who have performed heroic acts while in office. While it's inspiring anytime a stranger reaches out to help someone, it's not often that the person risking his or her life happens to be an elected official.

We've compiled a partial list of past heroic feats performed by pols.

Not all of them have suffered burns like Booker or had their teeth knocked out like Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who sustained injuries while trying to defend an elderly woman. But each has helped redeem the much maligned image of elected officials, showing that along with their political credentials they can also be good Samaritans.

Sen. Bill Frist

People magazine dubbed former Sen. Bill Frist "Healer on the Hill" in 1995 when he performed CPR on a preacher who collapsed from a heart attack while visiting a Senate building. Hill staffers immediately knew whom to call — the Tennessee Republican is also a board-certified surgeon.

Frist then worked to resuscitate the 60-year-old minister, performing CPR and other lifesaving measures. A witness recalled that Frist "was working so hard he was perspiring."

People posted a photo of the two later meeting at a local hospital, saying that even then the minister didn't lose sight of the senator's influence and lobbied Frist on behalf of a teen shelter he ran in Cleveland.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Governator wasn't off duty even while on vacation with his family in 2004 at the Four Seasons Resort in Maui. The former actor sensed a fellow swimmer's life was in danger and swam over to check on him. The man told Schwarzenegger that he "felt cramps all over." That was enough for the former body builder to swing into action. Witnesses say the governor took charge, throwing the man onto a boogie board and swimming him safely back to shore.

Gov. Mike Huckabee

Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee performed the Heimlich maneuver on another Republican politician during a lunch in 2008. The victim, Robert Pittenger, was running for lieutenant governor of North Carolina. The former Arkansas governor noticed someone else incorrectly attempting to administer the Heimlich and politely intervened. After Huckabee gave the candidate a lifesaving squeeze, he later said, "I didn't want to see ... this incredibly very valuable political career cut short by a piece of chicken."

Pittenger did not win office that year, but this campaign season he is running again, this time for a North Carolina congressional seat.

Gov. Mitt Romney

With the former Massachusetts governor running for president this year, stories of his altruism are being uncovered. His campaign may want to focus on a particular night back in 2003. The then-governor was with two of his sons, Craig and Josh, at their New Hampshire lakeside summer home when they heard cries for help. The three men hopped onto their Jet Skis, tore into the middle of the lake and rescued six people and their dog from the water after their boat sprang a leak.

A local newspaper reported that the Romneys grabbed the terrier from the water first because it was the only one without a life jacket. It wasn't the first time Romney came to the rescue of people in distress. Years before, he helped out a group of kayakers on that same lake.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Box Office Wallows In A Summer Slump, And Some Seek To Find Out Why

Only one movie in July, Transformers: Age of Extinction, has broken the 100 million mark during its opening weekend. Box office receipts all summer have proven anemic. Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with RENTRAK, talks to Audie Cornish about the box office slump.
NPR

Fast-Food Scandal Revives China's Food Safety Anxieties

An American-owned company that supplies meat to fast-food chains in China has pulled all its products made by a subsidiary. An expose revealed some of the products were mishandled and had expired.
NPR

When Did Companies Become People? Excavating The Legal Evolution

The Supreme Court has been granting more rights to corporations, including some regarded as those solely for individuals. But Nina Totenberg finds the company-to-person shift has a long history.
NPR

'Like' Something? Social Networks Would Like You To Buy It Too, Please

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly finding ways to move into e-commerce, adding buttons and acquiring startups that encourage users to buy products on their sites. Hannah Kuchler of the Financial Times discusses the moves with Audie Cornish.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.