July 11, 2008

Run jESSE run !!!!!

jesse ventura revolution book governor minnesota
Photos: AP
The many faces of Jesse (from left): author, speaker and governor

A New Job for Jesse?

The former Minnesota governor is considering a run for Senate. What he plans to do if he gets there.

Will he or won't he? That's the question Minnesota residents, political junkies across the nation and even wrestling fans are asking this week amid hints that Jesse Ventura will return to politics, this time seeking a Senate seat in his home state.

Ventura, whose eclectic jobs include Minnesota governor from 1999-2003, book author, movie actor and wrestling champ, turns 57 on July 15--coincidentally the same day as the filing deadline for the Senate seat. Living part-time in Mexico, Ventura says he hasn't yet decided what he will do.

If he does take the plunge, he would face incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken of "Saturday Night Live" fame. Ventura talked to NEWSWEEK's Hilary Shenfeld on Friday. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: You're thinking of mounting an independent campaign for the Senate in Minnesota. Why now?
Jesse Ventura: It's wide open, and I've watched these presidential debates, and they're avoiding subjects that I think are ultra-important.

Such as?
The deficit. Both parties are equally responsible for it. It's over $9 trillion now. A baby born today is [already] $30,000 in debt.

When did you get the itch to get back in?

As soon as the two parties chose their two senatorial candidates. I find it just bizarre that with the presidential approval rating less than 30 percent and congressional rating even less that Franken's trailing by double digits, so clearly he's not electable. With Coleman, you have a guy I call the quintessential chicken hawk. When it was time to serve his country, he was a chicken because he protested the war and stayed out of fighting. And then he came back all this time later and he's a hawk for the war. That hypocrisy is why I would want to come back and beat him.

When will you decide?

I will soul search and decide, probably on Monday morning. It's all about my family. Do I want to subject them to political office again? Do I want to change my lifestyle? As an independent you're held to a higher scrutiny. You want an example? I wrote a book when I was in office and the Minnesota press accused me of profiteering off the office. Three months later, John McCain came through on a book tour and they heralded him. He's a senator, right? Barack Obama wrote a book, didn't he?

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