Which President Was Shot While Speaking and Still Finished the Speech?

president-shot-speaking-still-finished-speech Credit: Apic/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

President Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt was shot in the chest during a speech in 1912; Roosevelt not only survived the shot but also continued to deliver his public address. Roosevelt, who was 53 years old at the time, was not serving an active term as president, though he was campaigning for a presidential term as a member of the Progressive Party. Though the shot was accurate and hit in a location that could have done grievous harm to the former president, he had a number of items in his jacket pockets, including the speech text itself and an eyeglasses case, that helped to reduce the bullet's impact.

The shots were fired prior to the speech, and when Roosevelt took the stage, he showed the audience evidence of the attack, showcasing the blood on his shirt and the bullet holes in his speech papers. Addressing the issue directly, Roosevelt said, "The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best."

In the immediate aftermath of the gunshot, which fired out in the midst of a large crowd of people, Roosevelt tried to question the shooter, John Schrank, who gave no discernible response.