During a stop in Milwaukee on his 1912 "Bull Moose" campaign for the presidency,
Roosevelt was shot at close range by John Schrank, a psychotic New York saloonkeeper. Schrank
had his .38 caliber pistol aimed at Roosevelt's head, but a bystander saw the gun and deflected
Schrank's arm just as the trigger was pulled. Roosevelt did not realize he was hit until someone
noticed a hole in his overcoat. When Roosevelt reached inside his coat, he found blood on his
Roosevelt was extremely lucky. He had the manuscript of a long, 50-page speech in his coat
pocket, folded in two, and the bullet was no doubt slowed as it passed through it. He also
had a steel spectacle case in his pocket, and the bullet traversed this, too, before entering
Roosevelt's chest near the right nipple. Thus, one could say that Roosevelt's long-windedness
and myopia saved his life!
Although the bullet traveled superiorly and medially for about 3 inches after breaking the
skin, it lodged in the chest wall, without entering the pleural space. Roosevelt was examined
in a Milwaukee hospital
(where he reluctantly allowed the surgeons to administer an injection of tetanus anti-toxin
and then was observed for 8 days in a Chicago hospital. He was discharged on October 23, 1912
-- only a few days before the election. The bullet had effectively stopped Roosevelt's campaign.
He finished second to
but ahead of the incumbent President,
William Howard Taft
The bullet was never removed, and caused no difficulty after the wound healed.
The details of the assassination attempt and its aftermath are described in