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Be Like Teddy — Just a Little (Editorial)

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On Oct. 14, 1912, a would-be assassin shot former President Teddy Roosevelt, running for a third term on the National Progressive — or Bull Moose — ticket, while Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee.

Although his 50-page speech, eyeglasses case and overcoat absorbed much of the bullet’s momentum, it left a dime-sized hole in his chest. Roosevelt, a sportsman and a former soldier, coughed into his hand to see if there was blood. There wasn’t and he determined that the bullet hadn’t entered his lungs.

A doctor accompanying Roosevelt told the former president’s driver to take him to the hospital. Roosevelt countermanded the order, saying, “You get me to that speech.”

At the auditorium, Roosevelt told the audience: “Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. 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.”

Roosevelt, though pale and unsteady, delivered his speech, all 90 minutes of it.

From the Smithsonian Magazine: “Once offstage, Roosevelt agreed to go to the hospital, where X-rays determined that the bullet had lodged in a rib. It would remain there for the rest of his life.”

Roosevelt, of course, lost his bid for a third term but won a secure place in history.

What put us in a mood to wax nostalgic about a politician dead for ninety-seven years? Just this:

On Tuesday, Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan got into an altercation with a Little Rock lawyer. It occurred at a deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by an employee fired by Milligan. Milligan’s police report said the lawyer’s shove had led to chest pains.

On Wednesday, Milligan, complaining of pain in his right arm, stayed home from work and donned a sling.

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