In Greek mythology, Ganymede was a handsome young prince who was carried up to heaven by Zeus, to become cup-bearer to the gods.
Alexi Giannoulias, another handsome young Greek prince, visited Washington on Tuesday to ask our modern-day Zeus for the same favor. Carry me up to the Senate, he told Barack Obama, and I will be your faithful servant.
Does that mean Obama is going to campaign for Giannoulias? Neither side would say.
“I'm very excited to have the full support of the president,“ Giannoulias said outside the White House. “Part of the meeting that took place was to make sure we understood how support of the White House works.”
Asked whether Obama had scheduled a campaign appearance, Giannoulias said “Again, today was to talk about going forward how they can be helpful in the campaign.”
Obama is already campaigning aggressively for two endangered Senate incumbents. Last month, he attended fundraisers for Nevada’s Harry Reid and Colorado’s Michael Bennet.
It’s hard to imagine Obama won’t do the same for Giannoulias. Obama has already campaigned for a Democrat in a desperate Senate race -- he visited Massachusetts to stand beside the flailing Martha Coakley -- and he wants to avoid the embarrassment of losing his old Senate seat to the Republicans.
Besides, every God can use a loyal cupbearer.
At an East Room ceremony for Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Giannoulias got a shout-out from Zeus himself.
“We have some outstanding members of Congress who are here, and we’ve got at least one potential member of Congress -- Alexi, stand up -- from the state of Illinois,” Obama said from the lectern. “We’ve got in fact, in addition to Alexi, we’ve got a lot of Greek American friends here who’ve been great friends and supporters of mine, including folks here from Chicago. I think we’ve got just about all of Greektown here.”