Oct 14, 2009
On October 14, 1912, while Theodore Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a saloon keeper named John Schrank shot him, but the bullet lodged in his chest only after penetrating both his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech he was carrying in his jacket.
Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he wasn't coughing blood the bullet had not completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung, and so declined suggestions he go to the hospital immediately.
Upon entrance to the Milwaukee Auditorium at the Hotel Gilpatrick, Roosevelt announced to the stunned audience that he had been shot. He then proceeded to deliver his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt.
He spoke for ninety minutes. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."
Afterwards, probes and X-ray showed that the bullet had traversed three inches of tissue and lodged in Roosevelt's chest muscle. Roosevelt carried it with him for the rest of his life.
Teddy Roosevelt was one heck of a guy. They just don't make politicians like that anymore. That's why we still remember small trivia like this small speech that exhibited the enormity of a great president.
As the first American president to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Theodore Roosvelt will always hold the greatest esteem in my eyes and in those of many other Americans.
Today, the Hotel Gilpatrick is long gone -- it's now the site of the Hyatt -- but the new hotel still honors this historic spot with a plaque located inside their lobby.
The assasin John Shrank was deemed insane and committed to a mental hospital, where he died in 1943. When asked about a motive Shrank responded, "any man looking for a third term ought to be shot."
The rest is history.
Here is the trancript of the Milwaukee Bull Moose Speech.