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"How I Saved Roosevelt" is a song from the Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins. It features a couple of witnesses of the assassination attempt of F.D.R. explaining what they saw, while his would-be assassin Giuseppe Zangara explains how America has treated him poorly.


Character Original Off-Broadway London Premiere Broadway Premiere London revival Encores! Off Center
Giuseppe Zangara Eddie Korbich Paul Harvey Jeffrey Kuhn Stewart Clarke Alex Brightman

All versions feature a chorus as the witnesses.


We're crowded up close
And I see this guy
He's squeezing by
I catch his eye
I say to him, "Where do you
Think you are trying to go, boy?
Whoa, boy!"
I say, "Listen, you runt
You're not pulling that stunt
No gentleman pushes his way to the front."
I say, "Move to the back!", which he does
With a grunt—
Which is how I saved Roosevelt!

Well, I'm in my seat
I get up to clap
I feel this tap
I turn—this sap
He says he can't see
I say, "Find a lap
And go sit on it!"
Which is how I saved—

Then he started to swear
And he climbed on a chair
He was aiming a gun
I was standing right there
So I pushed it as hard as I could in the air
Which is how I saved Roosevelt!

Lucky I was there

That's why he was standing back so far

That's why when he aimed
He missed the car

Just lucky I was there
Or we'd have been left
Bereft of F.D.R

You think that I scare?
No scare
You think that I care?
No care
I look at the world
No good, no fair

When I am a boy
No school
I work in a ditch
No chance
The smart and the rich
Ride by
Don't give no glance

Ever since then, because of them
I have the sickness in the stomach
Which is the way I make my idea
To go out and kill Roosevelt

First I was figure I kill Hoover
I get even for the stomach
Only Hoover up in Washington
Is wintertime in Washington
Too cold for the stomach in Washington—
I go down to Miami, kill Roosevelt

No laugh!
No funny!
Men with the money
They control everything
Roosevelt, Hoover—
No make no difference
You think I care who I kill?
I no care who I kill
Long as it's king!

The crowd's breaking up
And I hear these shots
And I mean lots—

I thought I'd plotz.

I spotted him.

My stomach was tied in knots.

So I barrelled

No, happened was this:
He was blowing a kiss—

She means Roosevelt—

I was saying to Harold, "This weather is bliss!"

When you think that we might have missed
Seeing him miss—!

Lucky we were there!

It was a historical event

Worth every penny that we spent

Just lucky we were there!

To think, if I let him get up closer—!

I saw right away he was insane—
Oh, this is my husband, we're from Maine—

He told me to sit, but I said, "No, Sir!"

This makes our vacation a real success!

Are you with the press?


Oh God, I'm a mess

Some left-wing foreigner, that's my guess—


And wasn't the band just fantastic?

No left!
You think I am left?
No left, no right
No anything!
Only American!

Zangara have nothing
No luck, no girl
Zangara no smart, no school
But Zangara no foreign tool
Zangara American!
American nothing!

And why there no photographers?
For Zangara no photographers!
Only capitalists get photographers!

No right, no fair, nowhere!
So what?

Lucky I was there I'm on the front page
Is that bizarre?
And all of those pictures
Like a star

Just lucky I was there
(No Sorry!)
And soon, no Zangara!
We might have been left
(Who cares?)
Bereft of F.
(Pull switch!)
No care, no more, no!
(D. R.!)

Other Appearances

  • The original version of the song was featured in the play's soundtrack.
  • The Broadway version was featured on the official soundtrack.




           Assassins Navbox Songs

Everybody's Got the RightThe Ballad of BoothHow I Saved RooseveltThe Gun SongThe Ballad of CzolgoszUnworthy of Your LoveThe Ballad of GuiteauAnother National AnthemYou Can Close the New York Stock ExchangeEverybody's Got the Right (Reprise)

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