T.R. Takes One in the Chest


On October 14, 1912 presidential candidate and former president Theodore Roosevelt was shot in the chest at close range while giving a campaign speech in Milwaukee. The bullet, fired from a .32 caliber pistol did not kill the effusive Roosevelt due to the fact that it struck his glasses case and the bundled papers of his speech. The bullet entered his chest but did not penetrate far.

Although bleeding through his shirt, Roosevelt preceded to give his 60 minute speech. He was quoted as saying, “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.” After finishing his speech Roosevelt was rushed to the hospital where an x-ray showed that the bullet was still lodged in his chest. It would remain there for the rest of his life.

The shooter was a deranged saloonkeeper named John Schrank. Members of Roosevelt’s staff and Milwaukee Police tackled and detained the perp. Roosevelt, realizing that the man was deranged, ordered, “Officers, take charge of him, and see that there is no violence done to him.” Schrank felt that the ghost of President McKinley had directed him to kill Roosevelt to stop him from winning a third term. Roosevelt was running under his own Progressive Party ticket after being out of office for four years. The ghost of William McKinley got his wish. Roosevelt split the Republican vote with incumbent President William Howard Taft and wound up losing to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.


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