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Theodore Roosevelt "Wherever you are; Get action!"

The year 1912 was a presidential election year, and former President Theodore Roosevelt was again campaigning for the nation's highest office. By the evening of October 14 his campaign had carried him to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was to deliver a speech in the city's public auditorium.The time was nearing for him to speak, so he strode from his hotel onto the sidewalk outside, where a car was waiting to take him to the auditorium.

As Roosevelt walked toward the car a man suddenly stepped up to him and pointed a pistol at his heart. The gunman pulled the trigger and a bullet burst from the pistol and smashed its way into Roosevelt's chest. His shirt was suddenly spattered with red, and more blood immediately began seeping from the ugly hole. The bullet had come to rest against his rib cage, a mere half inch from his lungs.

"He pinked me!" shouted Roosevelt, as bystanders rushed to subdue the gunman, John Shrank. They wrestled Shrank to the ground and then, seeing Roosevelt's bloody clothing, prepared to rush him to the hospital. But they found Teddy Roosevelt a more difficult man to deal with than the would-be assassin. "TR" adamantly refused to go for help. "You just stay where you are!" he thundered. "I am going to make this speech and you might as well compose yourself."

Teddy Roosevelt was as good as his word that October evening. Still wearing his torn and red-stained shirt, he had himself driven to the auditorium and there, Shrank's bullet lodged in his chest, he pulled out his blood-spattered notes and gave his speech. "I have a message to deliver," he declared to the stunned audience, "and I will deliver it as long as there is life in my body."

It was a rousing performance. Roosevelt was a wonderful, charismatic orator under any circumstance, and the sight of his spattered shirt and notes added a spectacular portion of drama to his speech. Only after he had completely finished his performance did he take time to go to a hospital and have the wound tended.

Excerpted from Presidential Temperament by David Keirsey, PhD and Ray Choiniere

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