The Quick 10: 10 Failed Assassination Attempts

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Today happens to be the anniversary of the day Sara Jane Moore tried to take President Ford out in 1975. Had it not been for the quick thinking of the guy next to her, Nelson Rockefeller would have been president and who knows where history would have taken us. Ford isn't the only U.S. president to narrowly escape disaster - here are nine other tales of presidents

1. Andrew Jackson, 1835. I love this one, because when house painter Richard Lawrence's shots misfired, Old Hickory beat him with a cane until he could be apprehended. Dude was tough.

2. Teddy Roosevelt, 1912. Teddy was giving a speech in Milwaukee when he was shot once by saloon-keeper John Schrank. Unperturbed, Roosevelt announced that he had been shot but insisted on finished out his speech anyway. His thick speech and his glasses case stopped the bullet from being fatal. The bullet was never removed.

3. Franklin Roosevelt, 1933. Giuseppe Zangara shot five times at Roosevelt. He wounded four people and killed Chicago mayor Anton Cermak. The shooting happened on February 15; Zangara was executed in Florida's infamous Old Sparky for Cermak's murder on March 20.

4. Harry Truman, 1950. Two Puerto Rican pro-independence activists walked right up to the Blair House, where Truman was staying, with intent to assassinate Truman. One of the men distracted Secret Service while the other approached a guard booth and killed the guard inside. President Truman looked out his bedroom window; one of the activists was only 31 feet away. Both men were killed by gunfire - one at the hand of the other, and one by the Secret Service.

5. JFK, 1960. Years before Lee Harvey Oswald, 73-year-old Richard Pavlick intended to crash his car, loaded up with dynamite, into Kennedy's car. Pavlick saw Jackie and Caroline saying goodbye to the President and decided to call the operation off. When he was pulled over for a moving violation a few days later, he still had dynamite in his car and the Secret Service nabbed him.

6. Richard Nixon #1, 1972. Arthur Bremer intended to shoot Nixon when he was visiting Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. He was unable to get a good shot and there was too much security due to Vietnam War protests. When he gave up on that attempt, he settled for shooting Democratic Presidential Candidate George Wallace a month later instead.
7. Nixon #2, 1974. Samuel Byck, a former tire salesman, hijacked a plane at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport. He shot both the pilot and the co-pilot and told a passenger to fly the plane. Byck was shot through the glass of the aircraft door and ended up finishing himself off before the police could make their way into the cockpit.

8. Gerald Ford #1, 1975. Charles Manson devotee Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme tried to shoot Ford when he was shaking hands in a crowd in Sacramento. She tried to fire on him when he reached to shake her hand, but the firing chamber was empty.

9. Gerald Ford #2, 1975. Just 17 days later, on September 22, Sara Jane Moore fired at Ford in San Francisco. The guy standing next to Moore saw what was happening and jerked her arm away, making the shot miss the President. She was paroled just last year.

10. Jimmy Carter, 1979. Carter was in L.A. to give a speech when a man was arrested with a gun. His story was that he was only there to distract Secret Service; other hit men with sniper rifles were waiting in the wings to assassinate Carter. The man, Raymond Lee Harvey, escaped conviction because there was a lack of evidence.

July 15, 2008 - 10:58am
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