Wednesday, October 16

The Day the Bartender Gave Teddy a Shot

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By Art Cashin

On this day (-2) in 1912, former President Teddy Roosevelt was out on the stump trying to regain the highest office in the land. He was trying to unseat Taft, his handpicked successor. Since the Republicans decided to stick with the incumbent, Taft; Teddy had to form his own party - the Progressive. But the press renamed the Progressive's - The Bull Moose Party after Teddy had said he felt as fit as a bull moose.

Anyway, this day found Teddy in Milwaukee on his way to deliver a speech. Quietly, through the crowd, moved a certain John Schrank, a New York bartender. He reached between two people trying to shake the candidate's hand, and fired a bullet straight into Teddy's chest.

The force of the shot knocked Teddy back against a parked car as the crowd wrestled Schrank to the ground. His aides ran to Roosevelt and urged him to go to the hospital. He pointed out there was no blood around the bullet hole in his lapel and damn-it he had come to give a speech.

He walked to the podium and pulled his speech from his inside jacket pocket. Only then did he notice that the bullet had gone through all 100 pages of the double folded speech. What he didn't know was that the bullet had gone four inches into his chest. And the reason there had been no blood was that the speech had compacted around the wound.

But Teddy meant to give a speech and a speech he gave - for over 50 minutes. Then, as the crowd cheered, he bowed and finally agreed to go to the hospital, where he was treated for shock and extreme blood loss.

To celebrate stop by the Rough Rider Lounge and have an ice-worm cocktail or two. And toast the fact that public officials today are probably as plucky and gritty as Teddy (try to say it with a straight face).

Many thanks to Mr. Cashin and UBS Financial Services who graciously allow his historical musings to be republished on this site. To enjoy more of Art's posts simply click on "Cashin's Comments" in the label section on the sidebar.

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