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Teddy, the survivor

October 8, 2012 12:10 am

PERHAPS if they could have been assured of a home game on Oct. 14 (the scheduled start of the National League Championship series), the Washington Nationals would have done well to delay Teddy Roosevelt's win in the foam-mascot presidents race until then.

That day, Oct. 14, 2012, if for some reason you missed it, is the 100th anniversary of an assassination attempt on the then-presidential candidate.

Historical records recall that Roosevelt, the vice president in 1901, took the presidential oath after the assassination of President William McKinley and went on to win the presidency outright in 1904.

In 1912, out of office and disillusioned with the direction of the Republican Party under his successor, William Howard Taft, Roosevelt and his allies started the Progressive Party. It came to be called the Bull Moose Party after Roosevelt proclaimed to reporters: "I'm fit as a bull moose."

Campaigning in Milwaukee on Oct. 14, 1912, the former president took a bullet in the chest by a radical saloonkeeper. Rejecting advice that he go to the hospital, Roosevelt, bleeding through his shirt, gave a 90-minute speech. He opened his remarks 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."

Later that day, after he was taken to a Chicago hospital, surgeons determined that the bullet's location made it too dangerous to remove, so it remained in TR's body the rest of his life. The wound did keep him off the campaign trail.

Unlike the outcome of the recent Presidents Race at Nationals Park, Teddy lost the 1912 presidential race to Woodrow Wilson. But he did come in second in the three-way contest, easily beating the incumbent, Taft.

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