Wednesday, May 05, 2004

"It takes more than a bullet to kill a Bull Moose."

From a Salon interview with historian James Chace about the 1912 election comes ironclad proof that Teddy Roosevelt, who campaigned as the nominee of the Progressive (aka Bull Moose) party that year, earned his place on Mount Rushmore as one of the greatest US presidents of all time:

One of the most noteworthy things that happened in that campaign occurred in the late stages in October, when Roosevelt was campaigning in the Middle West. He came out of his hotel and went to get in his car and a man tried to assassinate him. A man picked up a pistol and shot at him, and Roosevelt's life was saved only because he had a 50-page speech in the pocket of his coat. He was bleeding and the bullet went through the speech into his chest. Nonetheless, he insisted on going on to make his speech, against the advice of the doctors. No one could stop Roosevelt: He got up and walked onto the platform in front of about 5,000 to 10,000 people, opened his coat where he was still bleeding and said, "It takes more than a bullet to kill a Bull Moose." And he spoke for another 45 minutes with a bullet in his chest. It was one of the most extraordinary performances in American electoral history. He then went to a hospital, where he spent the next couple of weeks. All the other candidates stopped campaigning until he was able to recover.

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