Theodore Roosevelt’s Re-Election Week | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Theodore Roosevelt’s Re-Election Week

Jul 31, 2019

President Roosevelt was nominated for re-election this week in 1904. In his autobiography, TR included some amusing stump stories about that campaign.

“I campaigned in a Western town where new were told there could be trouble.  Gazing at the crowd there, my old friend Seth Bullock, with a gun on each hip, stood behind me gazing at the crowd. The audience listened in rapt attention. Afterwards, I commented to the chairman that there had been no interruptions.

“Well, I guess not, he said,” Seth sent around word that if any son-of-a-gun even peeped, he’s shoot him!”

At one of our regimental reunions an excellent old soldier mentioned how happy he was the judge had let him out in time for the reunion. I asked what was the matter.

“Why, Colonel, I had difficulty with a gentleman and ..er…I killed the gentleman. But you can see that the judge thought it was all right or he would not have let me go.”

Waving the latter point I asked, how did it happen? Misinterpreting my question as showing an interest only in the technique of the performance, the ex-puncher replied: “With a .38 caliber on a .45 frame, Colonel.”

I chuckled over the answer and it became proverbial with my family and some friends including Seth Bullock my dear friend from Dakota Territory days.

When I was shot in Milwaukee in 1912 on the campaign trail, Bullock wired an inquiry to which I replied that “it was all right, Seth, the weapon was merely a .38 on a .45 frame.”

The telegram somehow became public and puzzled outsiders.

Now I suppose some good people will gather from this that I favor men who commit crimes. I certainly do not. I am glad to see wrong-doers punished. But I do desire to see the man or woman who has paid the penalty and who wishes to reform given a helping hand.”

Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt is written and performed by Steve Stark. Funding provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.