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Roosevelt campaigns in New Jersey, 1912
Despite his contention that he was "as fit as a bull moose," the Republican Party denied Theodore Roosevelt its nomination for President and instead backed incumbent William Taft. Four years earlier Taft was Roosevelt's handpicked successor for the presidency but the two had a falling out. Taft called TR a "dangerous egotist" and a "demagogue." Roosevelt countered by referring to Taft as a "fathead" and a "puzzlewit."

With his defeat, Roosevelt bolted the Republican Party to run under the banner of the Progressive Party - renamed the Bull Moose Party in his honor. Feeling the pressure, Taft broke with precedent and became the first President to actively campaign on his own behalf while in office. The election turned into a two-way race between Roosevelt and Wilson with Taft running a distant third. Roosevelt called for a "Square Deal" and would control monopoly by regulating it. Wilson spoke of the "New Freedom" and called for the break up of big business as a means of restoring economic competition.

In the end, Republicans split their vote between Roosevelt and Taft allowing Wilson to gain the presidency with a 42% plurality. Wilson's victory made him only the second Democrat to win the presidency since the Civil War. Taft was humiliated, gaining only 8 electoral votes to Roosevelt's 88.

Join Theodore Roosevelt on a 1909 African safari
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