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Teddy Roosevelt survived assassin as 'bullet hit folded speech in coat pocket'.

New York, October 15 ( ANI ): Teddy Roosevelt, who was shot with a .38-caliber revolver by John Flammang Schrank, was saved by something that has proven deadly for many a candidate during a campaign - a lengthy speech.

Fifty pages long, and folded in half, the manuscript had been tucked into Roosevelt's coat pocket. Passing through that wad of paper slowed the bullet down, and it slowed even more when it hit a steel spectacle case.

The New York City saloonkeeper later revealed that he had shot Roosevelt because he dreamed he was writing a poem when he felt a tap on his shoulder and heard a voice say, "Let not a murderer take the presidential chair, avenge my death."

Schrank was certain that the nocturnal visitor was none other than assassinated President William McKinley.

Despite the slug in his chest, Roosevelt wasn't bleeding much, and his breathing was fine. Ignoring the protests of doctors, he decided that being shot was no excuse to disappoint the 9,000 supporters that waited for him.

He stepped onto the stage, showed his bloody shirt and perforated manuscript, and made the now-famous Bull Moose quip.

"It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose," the New York Daily News quoted Roosevelt as saying.

"The bullet is in me now," he told his audience, "so that I cannot make a very long speech. But I will do my best."

He went on for more than an hour and when he finally agreed to go to a hospital, doctors found the bullet lodged in his ribs. They pondered removing it, but it seemed safer to leave it alone. There it remained for the rest of Roosevelt's life.

This demonstration of Bull Moose strength and courage fueled speculation he was in for an easy win. But it did not take a bullet to deprive this candidate of his third term. With the Republican vote split, Democrat Woodrow Wilson sailed to victory.

A sanity commission probed Schrank's mind, and learned about a life of misfortune, in which he was orphaned at 10 and lost a sweetheart in the General Slocum excursion boat fire.

Judged insane, Schrank was sent to an asylum, where he would remain, without a single visitor, until his death in 1943. He outlived the Bull Moose by nearly a quarter of a century, and was around to see Teddy's cousin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, win a third term. ( ANI )

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Oct 15, 2012
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