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Jesse Ventura

Ventura speaking in 2008

In office
January 8, 1999 – January 6, 2003
Lieutenant Mae Schunk
Preceded by Arne Carlson
Succeeded by Tim Pawlenty

In office
1991–1995
Preceded by Jim Krautkremer

Born July 15, 1951 (1951-07-15) (age 58)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Birth name James George Janos
Political party Reform Party 1999–2000
Independence Party 2000–present
Spouse(s) Terry Ventura
Children Tyrel Ventura
Jade Ventura
Profession US Navy UDT
Professional wrestler
WCW, WWF Color Commentator
Talk Show host
Politician
Author
Actor
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1969–1975
Rank Petty Officer
Unit Underwater Demolition Team 12
United States Navy
Awards National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal

James George Janos[1] (born July 15, 1951), best known as Jesse "The Body" Ventura, is an American politician, previous governor of Minnesota, retired professional wrestler and color commentator, Navy UDT veteran, actor, and former radio and television talk show host. As a professional wrestler, he is best known for his tenure in the World Wrestling Federation as a wrestler and color commentator. In 2004, he was inducted into the company's Hall of Fame.[1]

In the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 1998, running as an Independent and member of the Reform Party, he was elected the 38th Governor of Minnesota and served from January 4, 1999 to January 6, 2003 without seeking a second term.

Contents

Early life

Ventura was born James George Janos in Minneapolis, the son of Bernice Martha (née Lenz) and George William Janos. His father's parents were from what is today Slovakia, and his mother was of German descent.[2] Ventura has described himself as Slovak.[3] Ventura (then still using his legal name of Janos) attended the now-closed Cooper Elementary School, and graduated from Minneapolis' Roosevelt High School in 1969.

From September 11, 1969 to September 10, 1975, during the Vietnam War era, he served in the United States Navy.[1] While on active duty, Ventura was part of Underwater Demolition Team 12 (UDT).[4] The UDT was merged with the US Navy SEALs in 1983, 8 years after Ventura was no longer in the Navy. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal but was not in combat thus did not qualify for the Combat Action Ribbon.

Commander Bill Salisbury, a San Diego attorney and former 16 year SEAL veteran wrote an article for the San Diego Reader, questioning Ventura's credentials and accused him of not being a genuine SEAL. [5][6][7] In response, on a Minnesota Public Radio interview from December 14, 1999 then Governor Ventura's office confirmed that Ventura was never a member of the SEALs and his spokesman stated that Ventura has "never tried to convince people otherwise".[8]

In 1973, Ventura was a full-patch member of the San Diego chapter of the Mongols, an outlaw motorcycle gang and organized crime syndicate for nine months, and rose to the rank of Sergeant-at-Arms. His nickname by Mongol members was "Superman". Ventura has said on The Howard Stern Show in 2009 that "once you're a Mongol, you're always a Mongol."[9][10]

He returned to Minnesota, and attended North Hennepin Community College in the mid-1970s, at the same time he began weightlifting and wrestling. He was a bodyguard for The Rolling Stones for a short time before he ventured into professional wrestling and changed his name.[11]

Professional wrestling career

Jesse Ventura
Ring name(s) Jesse "The Body" Ventura[1][12]
Billed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[1][12]
Billed weight 245 lb (111 kg)[1]-271 lb (123 kg)[12]
Born July 15, 1951 (1951-07-15) (age 58)[1][12]
Minneapolis, Minnesota[1]
Billed from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota[13]
Trained by Eddie Sharkey[1]
Debut October 1975[1]
Retired 1986[12]

Early career

He created the stage name Jesse "The Body" Ventura to go with the persona of a bully-ish beach bodybuilder, picking the name "Ventura" from a map as part of his "bleach blond from California" character.[1] As a wrestler, Ventura performed as a villain and often used the motto "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!" Much of his flamboyant persona was copied from "Superstar" Billy Graham, a charismatic and popular performer during the 1970s and '80s.[1][14] Years later, as a broadcaster, Ventura made a running joke out of claiming that Graham stole all of his ring attire ideas from him.

Singles and tag team success

In 1975, Ventura made his debut in the Central States territory, before moving to the Pacific Northwest, where he wrestled for promoter Don Owen as Jesse "The Great" Ventura.[1][14] Sometime later, he adopted the more permanent nickname, "The Body". During his stay in Portland, Oregon, he had notable feuds with Dutch Savage and Jimmy Snuka and won the Pacific Northwest Wrestling title twice (once from each wrestler), and the tag team title five times (twice each with Bull Ramos and "Playboy" Buddy Rose, and once with Jerry Oates). He later moved to his hometown promotion, the American Wrestling Association in Minnesota, and began teaming with Adrian Adonis as the "East-West Connection" in 1979.[13][14] The duo won the promotion's World Tag Team Championship on July 20, 1980 on a forfeit when Verne Gagne, one-half of the tag team champions along with Mad Dog Vachon, failed to show up for a title defense in Denver, Colorado.[1] The duo held the belts for nearly a year, losing to "The High Flyers" (Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell).[1]

Retirement and commentary

Shortly after losing the belts, the duo moved on to the World Wrestling Federation, where they were managed by "Classy" Freddie Blassie.[1] Although the duo was unable to capture the World Tag Team Championship, both Adonis and Ventura became singles title contenders, each earning several title shots at World Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund.[1]

Ventura continued to wrestle until September 1984, when blood clots in his lungs ended his in-ring career; it forced him to miss a title match against WWF Champion Hulk Hogan.[1] Ventura claimed the blood clots were a result of his exposure to Agent Orange during his time in Vietnam.[1][4] Ventura did return to the ring to participate in a six-man tag team match in December 1985 as he, Roddy Piper, and "Cowboy" Bob Orton defeated Hillbilly Jim, Uncle Elmer, and Cousin Luke in a match which was broadcast on Saturday Night's Main Event.[1] After a failed comeback bid, he began to do color commentary on television for All-Star Wrestling (replacing Angelo Mosca) and later Superstars of Wrestling (initially alongside Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino, and with McMahon after Sammartino's departure from the WWF in 1988), hosted his own talk segment on the WWF's Superstars of Wrestling called "The Body Shop", and did color commentary on radio for a few National Football League teams (among them, the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers).[1] Ventura most notably co-hosted Saturday Night's Main Event with Vince McMahon and the first six WrestleManias (1985–1990) and most of the WWF's pay-per-views at the time with Gorilla Monsoon (the lone exception for Ventura being the first SummerSlam, in which Ventura served as the guest referee during the main event). Following a dispute with WWF Chairman Vince McMahon over him using his image for the video game company Sega, McMahon—who had a contract with rival company Nintendo at the time—released Ventura from the company in August 1990.[15]

In February 1992 at WCW SuperBrawl II, Ventura joined World Championship Wrestling as a commentator. His professional wrestling commentary style was an extension of his wrestling persona, as he was partial to the villains, which was something new and different at the time,[1] but would still occasionally give credit where it was due, praising the athleticism of Dynamite Kid and Randy Savage (who was championed by Ventura for years, even when he was a fan favorite). The lone exception to this rule was the WrestleMania VI match between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. Since they were both crowd favorites, Ventura took a neutral position in his commentary; even praising Hogan's display of sportsmanship at the end of the match when he handed over the WWF Championship to the Warrior after he lost the title. The praise of Hogan's action was unusual for Ventura because he regularly rooted against Hogan during his matches. Hogan and Ventura were, at one point, close friends.[16] Ventura, however, abruptly ended the friendship after he discovered, during his lawsuit against Vince McMahon, that Hogan was the one who had told Vince about Ventura's attempt to form a labor union in 1984.[16] Ventura was released by WCW President Eric Bishoff for falling asleep during a WCW Worldwide TV taping at Disney MGM Studios in July 1994, though its been speculated the move may have had more to do with Hulk Hogan's arrival shortly before.[1]

Litigation

In 1987, while negotiating his contract as a WWF commentator, Ventura waived his rights to royalties on videotape sales when he was falsely told that only feature performers received such royalties. In 1991, having discovered that other non-feature performers received royalties, Ventura brought an action for fraud, misappropriation of publicity rights, and quantum meruit in Minnesota state court against Titan Sports. Titan removed the case to federal court, and Ventura won an $801,333 jury verdict on the last claim. The judgment was affirmed on appeal, and the case,[17] 65 F.3d 725 (8th Cir.1995), is an important result in the law of restitution.

Return to the World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment

In mid-1999, Ventura reappeared on WWF television during his term as Governor of Minnesota, acting as the special guest referee for main event of SummerSlam held in Minneapolis.[1] Ventura would continue his relationship with the WWF by performing commentary for Vince McMahon's short-lived XFL.[1] On the March 20, 2003 episode of SmackDown!, Ventura appeared in a taped interview to talk about the match between McMahon and Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XIX.[1] Less than a year later, he would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 13, 2004 and the following night at WrestleMania XX, he approached the ring to interview Donald Trump, who had a front row seat at the event.[1] Trump affirmed that Ventura would receive his moral and financial support were he to ever reenter the world of politics. Alluding to the 2008 election, Ventura boldly announced that "In 2008, maybe we oughta put a wrestler in the White House". On the June 11, 2007 episode of Raw, Ventura appeared to give comments about Vince McMahon.[1]

Ventura was guest host on the November 23, 2009 episode of Raw during which he retained his villainous persona by siding with the number one contender, Sheamus over WWE Champion John Cena. This happened while he confronted Cena about how it was unfair that Cena always got a title shot in the WWE while Ventura didn't during his WWE career. After that Sheamus attacked Cena and put him through a table. Ventura then made the match a Table match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. During the show, for the first time in nearly 20 years, Vince McMahon joined Ventura at ringside to provide match commentary together.

Acting career

Jesse Ventura
Born James George Janos
July 15, 1951 (1951-07-15) (age 58)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Occupation Actor, politician, wrestler, multi-media personality
Years active 1987–present
Spouse(s) Terry Ventura

Ventura acted in the 1987 movie Predator, whose cast included future California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and future Kentucky Gubernatorial candidate Sonny Landham.[1] He appeared in two episodes of Zorro filmed in Madrid, Spain in 1991. He had a starring role in the 1990 sci-fi movie Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe, and supporting roles in The Running Man, Demolition Man, Repossessed, Ricochet, The Master of Disguise (in which he steals the Liberty Bell), and Batman & Robin - the first and last of these also starring Schwarzenegger. Ventura also made a cameo appearance in Major League II, as "White Lightning". He also appeared as a self help guru (voice only) in The Ringer trying to turn Johnny Knoxville into a more confident worker. Ventura also had a cameo in The X-Files episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" as a Man in Black alongside fellow 'MiB' Alex Trebek. In 2008, Ventura filmed the independent comedy Woodshop, starring as a high school shop teacher named Mr. Madson. The film was scheduled for a 2009 release.

Political career

Mayor of Brooklyn Park

Following his departure from the WWF, Ventura took advice from a former high school teacher and ran for mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in 1990.[18] Ventura defeated the city's 18-year incumbent mayor and served from 1991 to 1995.[19]

Governor of Minnesota

Ventura ran for Governor of Minnesota in 1998 as the nominee for the Reform Party of Minnesota (he later joined the Independence Party of Minnesota when the Reform Party broke from its association with the Reform Party of the United States of America). His campaign consisted of a combination of aggressive grassroots events and original television spots, designed by quirky adman Bill Hillsman, using the phrase "Don't vote for politics as usual." He spent considerably less than his opponents (about $300,000) and was a pioneer in his using the Internet as a medium of reaching out to voters in a political campaign.[20]

He won the election in November 1998, narrowly (and unexpectedly) defeating the major-party candidates, St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman (Republican) and Minnesota Attorney General Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III (Democratic-Farmer-Labor). After his victory, bumper stickers and T-shirts bearing the slogan "My governor can beat up your governor" appeared in Minnesota. The nickname "Jesse 'The Mind'" (from a last-minute Hillsman ad featuring Ventura posing as Rodin's Thinker) began to resurface sarcastically in reference to his frequently controversial remarks. Ventura's old stage name "Jesse 'The Body'" (sometimes adapted to "Jesse 'The Governing Body'") also continued to appear with some regularity.

After the legislature refused to increase spending for security, Ventura attracted criticism when he decided not to live in the governor's mansion during his tenure, choosing instead to shut it down and stay at his home in Maple Grove. Critics pointed to the loss of jobs for several working-class people at the mansion and the extra cost of reopening the mansion later.[21]

In 1999, a group of disgruntled citizens petitioned to recall Governor Ventura, alleging, among other things, that "the use of state security personnel to protect the governor on a book promotion tour constituted illegal use of state property for personal gain." The petition was denied.[22]

During his tenure as Governor, Ventura drew frequent fire from the press in the Twin Cities. He referred to reporters as "media jackals," a term that even appeared on the press passes required to enter the governor's press area.[23] Shortly after Ventura's election as governor, author and humorist Garrison Keillor wrote a satirical book about the event, spoofing Ventura as "Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente," a self-aggrandizing former "Navy W.A.L.R.U.S. (Water Air Land Rising Up Suddenly)" turned professional wrestler turned politician. Initially, Ventura responded angrily to the satire, but later, in a conciliatory vein, said that Keillor "makes Minnesota proud".[24] During his term, Ventura appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, in which he responded controversially to the following question: "So which is the better city of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis or St. Paul?". Ventura responded, "Minneapolis. Those streets in St. Paul must have been designed by drunken Irishmen". He later apologized for the remark, adding that it was not intended to be taken seriously.[25]

After a trade mission to China in 2002, he announced that he would not run for a second term.[26] He accused the media of hounding him and his family for personal behavior and belief while neglecting coverage of important policy issues. Ventura later told a reporter for The Boston Globe that he would have run for a second term if he had been single, citing the media's effect on his family life.[27]

Governor Ventura sparked media criticism when, nearing the end of his term, he suggested that he might resign from office early to allow his lieutenant governor, Mae Schunk, an opportunity to serve as governor. He further stated that he wanted her to be the state's first female governor and have her portrait painted and hung in the Capitol along with the other governors. Ventura quickly retreated from the comments, saying he was just floating an idea.[28]

Political positions

Ventura's main campaign promise was a tax refund. The state was running a budget surplus at the time, and Ventura believed that the money should be given back to the public. In political debates, he often admitted that he had not formed an opinion on certain policy questions. Ventura frequently described himself as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal."[29] He selected teacher Mae Schunk as his running mate.

Later as governor, he came to support a unicameral (one-house) legislature, property tax reform, gay rights, and abortion rights. In an interview on The Howard Stern Show, he affirmed his support of gay rights, including gay marriage and gays in the military, stating he would've gladly served alongside homosexuals when he was in the Navy as they would've provided less competition for women.[30] While funding public school education generously, he opposed the teachers' union, and did not have a high regard for the public funding of higher education institutions. Additionally, Ventura supported the use of medicinal marijuana,[31] advocated a higher role for third parties in national politics, and favored the concept of instant-runoff voting.

Ventura was elected on a Reform party ticket, but he never received support from Ross Perot's Texas faction. When the Reform party was taken over by Pat Buchanan supporters before the presidential elections of 2000, Ventura left the party in February 2000, referring to it as 'hopelessly dysfunctional'. However, he maintained close ties to the Independence Party of Minnesota, which also broke from the Reform party around the same time.

Lacking a party base in the Minnesota House and Senate, Ventura's policy ambitions had little chance of being introduced as bills. Initially, the residents of Minnesota feared Ventura's vetoes would be overturned. He vetoed 45 bills in his first year, and only three of those vetoes were overridden. The reputation for having his vetoes overridden comes from his fourth and final year, where six of his nine vetoes were overturned.[32] He vetoed a bill to require recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.[33]

During the first part of his administration, Ventura strongly advocated for land-use reform and substantial mass transit improvements, such as light rail.[34] He made the light rail project a priority, obtaining additional funding from the Minnesota state legislature to keep the project moving. The Hiawatha Line was completed in 2004.

During another trade mission to Cuba in the summer of 2002, he denounced the economic sanctions of the US against that country.[26]

Wellstone memorial

Ventura greatly disapproved of some of the actions that took place at the 2002 memorial for Senator Paul Wellstone, his family, and others who died in a plane crash on October 25, 2002. Ventura said, "I feel used. I feel violated and duped over the fact that [the memorial ceremony] turned into a political rally".[35][36] He left halfway through the controversial speech made by Wellstone's best friend, Rick Kahn. Ventura had initially planned to appoint a Democrat to Wellstone's seat,[37] but he instead appointed Dean Barkley to represent Minnesota in the Senate until Wellstone's term expired in January 2003.

Religion

In a Playboy interview, he said, "Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business." In his 1999 best-selling memoir I Ain't Got Time to Bleed, Ventura responded to the controversy sparked by these remarks by elaborating on his views concerning religion: "I’d like to clarify [my comments published in Playboy] about religious people being weak-minded. I didn’t mean all religious people. I don’t have any problem with the vast majority of religious folks. I count myself among them, more or less. But I believe because it makes sense to me, not because I think it can be proven. There are lots of people out there who think they know the truth about God and religion, but does anybody really know for sure? That’s why the founding fathers built freedom of religious belief into the structure of this nation, so that everybody could make up their minds for themselves. But I do have a problem with the people who think they have some right to try to impose their beliefs on others. I hate what the fundamentalist fanatics are doing to our country. It seems as though, if everybody doesn’t accept their version of reality, that somehow invalidates it for them. Everybody must believe the same things they do. That’s what I find weak and destructive."[38]

Ventura endorsed equal rights for religious minorities, as well as people who don't believe in God, by declaring July 4, 2002, "Indivisible Day". Ventura proclaimed October 13–19, 2002 as "Christian Heritage Week" in Minnesota.[39][40]

Other media

Between 1995 and his run for governor in 1998, Ventura had radio call-in shows on (KFAN 1130) and (KSTP 1500) in Minneapolis – Saint Paul. Jesse had a brief role on the television soap opera The Young and the Restless in 1999.

Ventura has been criticized for privately profiting from his heightened popularity. He was hired as a television analyst for the failed XFL football enterprise, served as a referee at a World Wrestling Federation match, and published several books during his tenure as governor. On his weekly radio show, he often criticized the media for focusing on these deals rather than on his policy proposals.[41]

Post-gubernatorial life

Jesse Ventura's America
JesseVenturasAmerica.jpg
Ventura on his MSNBC talk show Jesse Ventura's America
Starring Jesse Ventura
Production
Location(s) Saint Paul, Minnesota,  United States
Broadcast
Original channel MSNBC
Original run October 4, 2003 – December 26, 2003

Ventura was succeeded in his office by Republican Tim Pawlenty. He began a cable television show in October 2003, on MSNBC called Jesse Ventura's America. The show was broadcast once a week, on Saturdays, unlike many MSNBC shows which are on five nights a week (this show was originally planned for five nights a week as well, but MSNBC executives changed their minds). At the time of its airing, Jesse Ventura's America was the only national television show filmed in Minnesota. Among his guests were Charles Barkley, Gray Davis, Arianna Huffington, Rob Kampia, and Kathy McKee.

In 2004, fellow Navy veteran and Harvard graduate student Christopher Mora promoted the idea that the academic establishment had failed to reach out to citizens experienced in public service, but who did not fit the traditional idea of a politician. He successfully lobbied for the selection of Ventura, who started teaching a study group at Harvard University for the Spring 2004 semester as a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics (IOP). His 90-minute study group focused on third party politics, campaign finance, the war on drugs, and other relevant political issues. Ventura scheduled multiple famous friends to appear for his seminars including Dean Barkley and Richard Marcinko.

On October 22, 2004, with Ventura by his side, former Maine Governor Angus King endorsed John Kerry for President at the Minnesota state capitol building. Ventura did not speak at the press conference. When prodded for a statement, Governor King responded, "He plans to vote for John Kerry, but he doesn't want to make a statement and subject himself to the tender mercies of the Minnesota press".[42]

In November 2004, an advertisement began airing in California featuring Ventura. In it, Ventura voices his opposition to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's policies regarding Native American casinos. Like Hogan, Schwarzenegger at one point was also a close friend of Ventura as well, but since Schwarzenegger's victory in California, Ventura has not reportedly given him any praise; Schwarzenegger didn't even mention Ventura's name in an interview with Fox News in 2005, where reporter Chris Wallace asked him if he was "the next Jesse Ventura".[43] Ventura is serving as an advisory board member for a new group called Operation Truth, a non-profit organization set up "to give voice to troops who served in Iraq." “The current use of the National Guard is wrong....These are men who did not sign up to go occupy foreign nations”.[44]

In August 2005, Ventura became the spokesperson for BetUS, an online Sportsbook.[45] In 2005, Ventura repeatedly discussed leaving the United States. In September 2005, Ventura announced on The Mike Malloy Show that he was leaving the U.S. and planned to "have an adventure". In late October 2005, he went on the The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and reiterated that he was leaving the U.S. due to, among other things, censorship. He has since moved to Baja California, Mexico.

In September 2006, Ventura endorsed and campaigned with independent Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman, and Independence Party of Minnesota 's gubernatorial candidate Peter Hutchinson and Team Minnesota. He revealed he now spends much of his time surfing near his home in Mexico.

In April 2008, a book authored by Ventura, titled Don't Start the Revolution Without Me was released. In it, Ventura describes a hypothetical campaign in which he is a candidate for President of the United States in 2008, running as an independent. In an interview with the Associated Press at the time of the book's release, however, Ventura denied any plans for a presidential bid, stating that the scenario is only imaginary and not indicative of a "secret plan to run".[46] On MinnPost.com, Ventura's agent, Steve Schwartz, describes the book thus: "[Ventura is revealing] why he left politics and discussing the disastrous war in Iraq, why he sees our two-party system as corrupt, and what Fidel Castro told him about who was really behind the assassination of President Kennedy."[47]

However, in an interview on CNN's The Situation Room on April 7, Ventura hinted that he was considering entering the race for the United States Senate seat then held by Norm Coleman, his Republican opponent in the 1998 Gubernatorial race.[48] A poll commissioned by Twin Cities station Fox 9 put him at 24 percent, behind Al Franken at 32 percent and Norm Coleman at 39 percent in a hypothetical three-way race. However, Ventura announced on Larry King Live on July 14, 2008 that he would not run.[49]

He spoke at former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's "Rally for the Republic", organized by the Campaign for Liberty, on September 2, 2008. At the event, Ventura implied a possible future run at the U.S. Presidency. Ventura stated before a live audience that "If America proves itself worthy, in 2012 we'll give them a race they'll never forget!"

TV Week is reporting that Ventura is in negotiations with 20th Television to host a half-hour court show that would debut in the fall of 2009.[50]

Bush/Cheney administration and torture

In a May 11, 2009 interview with Larry King, Ventura twice stated that George W. Bush was the worst president of his lifetime, adding "President Obama inherited something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. You know? Two wars, an economy that's borderline depression."[51] On the issue of waterboarding, Ventura added:

[I]t's a good thing I'm not president because I would prosecute every person that was involved in that torture. I would prosecute the people that did it. I would prosecute the people that ordered it. Because torture is against the law. ... [Waterboarding] is drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you — I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders. ... If it's — if it's done wrong, you certainly could drown. You could swallow your tongue. You could do a whole bunch of stuff. If it's it done wrong or — it's torture, Larry. It's torture.[52]

Ventura then stated that he had no respect for Dick Cheney because he is "a guy who got five deferments from the Vietnam War. Clearly, he's a coward. He wouldn't go when it was his time to go. And now he is a chickenhawk. Now he is this big tough guy who wants this hardcore policy. And he's the guy that sanctioned all this torture by calling it 'enhanced interrogation'."[52] Ventura also expressed interest in being appointed ambassador to Cuba should U.S. relations with Cuba continue to improve.[53] On a May 18, 2009 appearance on The View, Ventura asked Elisabeth Hasselbeck if waterboarding is acceptable, why were not Oklahoma City bombers, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols waterboarded. "We only seem to waterboard Muslims."[54] Comparing the waterboarding of detainees to the North Vietnamese torture of American P.O.W.s, Ventura asserted, "We created our own Hanoi Hilton in Guantánamo. That's our Hanoi Hilton."[54] "'Enhanced interrogation' is Dick Cheney changing a word. Dick Cheney changed a word to cover his ass."[54] On May 20, 2009, Ventura appeared on Fox & Friends. When Brian Kilmeade told Ventura that he would stop supporting waterboarding when "they're dead", Ventura responded, "Really? Have you enlisted? Have you enlisted or are you just talking?... Go walk the walk, don't talk the talk."[55]

Questions regarding 9/11

In April and May 2008, Jesse Ventura, in several radio interviews for his new book, Don't Start the Revolution Without Me, expressed concerns about what he described as some of the unanswered questions of the September 11 attacks.[56] His remarks about the possibility that the World Trade Center was demolished with explosives were also repeated in newspaper and television stories following some of the interviews.[57]

Ventura was interviewed on the Alex Jones radio show on April 2, 2008[58] where he said that he felt that many unanswered questions remain, and he believes that World Trade Center Building 7, which was not struck by a plane, collapsed on the afternoon of 9/11 in a manner which resembled a well executed controlled demolition[59] Ventura stated:

How could this building just implode into its own footprint five hours later? That's my first question. [...] The 9/11 Commission didn't even devote one page to that in their big volume of investigation.[60]

He also states the Twin Towers appeared to be pulverized to dust, that they fell at virtually free-fall speed, and that no other massive steel-framed buildings had ever collapsed in this manner due to fire before.[57]

On May 18, 2009, when asked by Sean Hannity of Fox News, how George W. Bush could have avoided the attacks of September 11, 2001, Ventura answered, "Well, you pay attention to memos on August 6th that tell you exactly what bin Laden's gonna do."[61]

Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura

In August 2009, it was announced that Ventura would host TruTV's new show Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.[62] "Ventura will hunt down answers, plunging viewers into a world of secret meetings, midnight surveillance, shifty characters and dark forces," truTV said in a statement. On the program, which debuted on December 2, 2009, Ventura travels the country, investigating cases and getting input from believers and skeptics before passing judgment on a theory's validity.[63] According to TruTV, the first episode drew 1.6 million viewers, a record for a new series on the network.

Personal life

In 1975, Ventura married his wife Terry. The couple have two grown children: a son, Tyrel (b. 1980), who is a movie and television director and producer,[64] and a daughter, Jade (b. 1983).[65]

During his wrestling days, Ventura used anabolic steroids. He admitted this after retiring from competition, and went on to make public service announcements and appear in printed ads and on posters warning young people about the potential dangers and potential health risks of abusing steroids.[66]

In 2002, Ventura was hospitalized for a severe blood clot in his lungs, the same kind of injury that ended his wrestling career.[67]

Electoral history

Wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • International Wrestling Institute and Museum
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI ranked him #239 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003
    • PWI ranked him #67 of the 100 best tag teams of the "PWI Years" with Adrian Adonis

Books

  • I Ain't Got Time to Bleed: Reworking the Body Politic from the Bottom Up ISBN 978-0-451-20086-0
  • Do I Stand Alone?: Going to the Mat Against Political Pawns and Media Jackals ISBN 978-0-7434-0587-4
  • Jesse Ventura Tells It Like It Is: America's Most Outspoken Governor Speaks Out About Government (co-authored with Heron Marquez) ISBN 978-0-8225-0385-9
  • Don't Start the Revolution Without Me! (co-authored with Dick Russell) ISBN 978-1-60239-273-1
  • American Conspiracies (March 2010, co-authored with Dick Russell) ISBN 978-1602398023

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al "OWOW profile". http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/j/jesse-ventura.html. 
  2. ^ "Ancestry of Jesse Ventura". Wargs.com. http://www.wargs.com/political/ventura.html. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  3. ^ April 1, 2008, in Larry King interview with Ventura on NBC
  4. ^ a b Milner, John M. (January 21, 2006). "Jesse Ventura's bio". SLAM! Wrestling. http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/Bios/ventura_jesse.html. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  5. ^ http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/1999/dec/02/jesse-great-pretender-ventura/
  6. ^ http://cursor.org/stories/seal_or_udt.htm
  7. ^ http://cursor.org/stories/seal_or_udt_2.htm
  8. ^ http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/199912/14_kastem_seals/
  9. ^ One on One with Jesse Ventura
  10. ^ OUTLAW GANGS: Northern Nevada eyes biker enmity
  11. ^ Jesse Ventura PBS
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cagematch profile". http://www.cagematch.de/?id=2&nr=53. 
  13. ^ a b c "WWE profile". http://www.wwe.com/superstars/halloffame/inductees/jesseventura/bio/. 
  14. ^ a b c John Molinaro, The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time, (Winding Stair Press: 2002), page 199
  15. ^ Jake Tapper, "Body Slam: The Jesse Ventura Story," pg. 104-105
  16. ^ a b Jesse Ventura, "I Ain't Got Time To Bleed pg. 108
  17. ^ Ventura v. Titan Sports, Inc.
  18. ^ Jake Tapper, "Body Slam: The Jesse Ventura Story," pg. 105-108
  19. ^ Carly Skorczewski (October 29, 1998 - Volume 11, Issue 5). "Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Jesse Ventura: Reform endorsed candidate". Morris.umn.edu. http://www.morris.umn.edu/register/article.php?volume=11&issue=5&section=feature&index=2. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  20. ^ Howey, Brian (June 18, 2009). "Time to Take Over the Indiana Libertarian Party". http://www.howeypolitics.com/2009/06/18/brian-howey-time-to-take-over-the-indiana-libertarian-party/. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  21. ^ Published: May 1, 2002 (Published: May 1, 2002). "National Briefing | Midwest: Minnesota: Governor Shuts Mansion - New York Times". Query.nytimes.com. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9903E6D71431F932A35756C0A9649C8B63. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  22. ^ In Re Proposed Petition to Recall Governor Jesse Ventura http://wrestlingperspective.com/legal/ventura.html
  23. ^ Lynda McConnell, Special to Stateline.org. "Provocative Press Pass Miffs Minnesota Media". Stateline.org. http://www.stateline.org/live/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=136&languageId=1&contentId=14279. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  24. ^ "Current.org | Keillor v. Ventura". Current.org. http://www.current.org/people/peop908g.html. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  25. ^ Published: February 26, 1999 (Published: February 26, 1999). "Gov. Ventura Stumbles - New York Times". Query.nytimes.com. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B07E3DD173CF935A15751C0A96F958260&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/V/Ventura,%20Jesse. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  26. ^ a b "MPR: Ventura begins final foreign journey as governor". News.minnesota.publicradio.org. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200209/25_khoom_cuba1/. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  27. ^ Joseph P. Kahn (February 25, 2004). "The Body politic - The Boston Globe". Boston.com. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2004/02/25/the_body_politic/. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  28. ^ "Ventura May Leave Office Early - Political Wire". Politicalwire.com. http://politicalwire.com/archives/2002/10/21/ventura_may_leave_office_early.html. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  29. ^ Ventura, Jesse (2000). Ain't Got Time to Bleed. Signet. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0451200861. 
  30. ^ http://www.howardstern.com/rundown.hs?d=1242705600#14047
  31. ^ Ferrero, Susan (May 7, 2001). "CANNABIS CONTROVERSY Medical use of marijuana pits politicians against scientists with patients caught in the middle". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/lifestyle/2001/05/07/2001-05-07_cannabis_controversy_medical.html. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  32. ^ "Minnesota Legislative Reference Library: Bills Vetoed by Governors and Override Attempts, 1939-Present". Minnesota Legislative Reference Library www.leg.state.mn.us/LRL. http://www.leg.state.mn.us/LRL/Vetoes/Vetohist.asp. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  33. ^ "freedomforum.org: Minnesota governor vetoes Pledge of Allegiance requirement". Freedomforum.org. http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=16297. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  34. ^ Ventura, Jesse (2008). Don't start the revolution without me!. Skyhorse Publishing Inc.. pp. 143–160. ISBN 1602392730. 
  35. ^ E-Mail Respond Print Share: ST. PAUL, Minn. —  Walter Mondale returned to politics Wednesday night as Minnesota Democrats loudly approved the former vice president as a fill-in for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone -- and Republican nominee Norm Coleman started up his campaign again after a brief respite. Click to Watch Video of Ventura Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura was so offended by the political rally that evolved out of a memorial service to honor Wellstone that he said he will try to appoint an independent instead of a Democrat to fill out Wellstone's term until a replacement is certified. "I feel used. I feel violated and duped over the fact that that turned into nothing more than a political rally ... I think the Democrats should hang their heads in shame," Ventura told Fox News on Wednesday. More than 800 party representatives, in a special meeting, approved Mondale's candidacy with a boisterous "YEA!" There were no dissenters. Mondale was mobbed as he made his way to the podium to speak. "Tonight, our campaign begins," Mondale said. "I start it with a pledge to you. I will be your voice, and I will be Paul Wellstone's voice for decency and better lives." Related Stories Mondale to Replace Wellstone as Senate Candidate Coleman Ready to Win Wellstone Seat Minn. Democrats Angered by GOP Challenge Mondale So Old He's New Again Lawmakers Remember Wellstone Officials Consider Wellstone Successor King Air Plane a Business Favorite Sen. Wellstone, Seven Others Die in Plane Crash U.S. Politicians Killed in Plane Crashes Obituary: Sen. Paul Wellstone, 58 Bio: Paul Wellstone Transcript: Mike Erlandson on FNS (October 31, 2002). "FOXNews.com - Ventura May Tap Independent to Wellstone's Seat; Mondale Officially in for Dems - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum". Foxnews.com. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,67075,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  36. ^ "Honor & Civility, RIP". Weeklystandard.com. http://www.weeklystandard.com/content/public/articles/000/000/001/830clrob.asp. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  37. ^ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-69252006.html
  38. ^ "Jesse Ventura on Principles & Values". Ontheissues.org. http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Jesse_Ventura_Principles_+_Values.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  39. ^ "Religion News". Pewforum.org. http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?ewsID=1402. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  40. ^ Jo Napolitano (Nyt) (Published: August 2, 2002). "National Briefing | Midwest: Minnesota: Christians One Up On Ventura - New York Times". Query.nytimes.com. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9907E7DF1F3BF931A3575BC0A9649C8B63. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  41. ^ "MPR: Ventura - the year in review". News.minnesota.publicradio.org. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200201/28_khoom_jessereview/. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  42. ^ "MPR: Speechless no more, Ventura stumps for Kerry at colleges". News.minnesota.publicradio.org. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/10/28_mccalluml_venturakerry/. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  43. ^ Therese, Marie (May 9, 2005). "News Hounds: Arnold Schwarzenegger: Politics as Movie Script". Newshounds.us. http://www.newshounds.us/2005/05/09/arnold_schwarzenegger_politics_as_movie_script.php. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  44. ^ "Army News, benefits, careers, entertainment, photos, promotions - Army Times HOME". Armytimes.com. http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-ARMYPAPER-323322.php. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  45. ^ BetUs Events
  46. ^ Freed, Joshua."Ventura:No Plans to Run Again, but...", Associated Press. Accessed on April 1, 2008
  47. ^ Jesse's back! New Ventura book 'Revolution' will cover political waterfront, MinnPost.com
  48. ^ Jesse Ventura Running For The Senate?!, YouTube
  49. ^ Falcone, Michael (2008-07-14). "Ventura Decides Against Senate Run". The Caucus. New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/ventura-decides-against-senate-run/. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  50. ^ Ventura In Talks To Host Court Show, WCCO.com
  51. ^ Jesse Ventura: You Give Me a Water Board, Dick Cheney and One Hour, and I'll Have Him Confess to the Sharon Tate Murders, CrooksAndLiars.com
  52. ^ a b Jesse Ventura: You Give Me a Water Board, Dick Cheney and One Hour, and I'll Have Him Confess to the Sharon Tate Murders, CrooksAndLiars.com
  53. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ujv-x6wGoGA
  54. ^ a b c Ventura And Hasselbeck Rumble Over Waterboarding On The View
  55. ^ Jesse Ventura Lays Waste To Fox And Friends
  56. ^ Jesse The Body Sounds Off, howardstern.com, May 21, 2008
  57. ^ a b Ventura says he regrets initial acceptance of 9/11 explanations, Associated Press, April 3, 2008
  58. ^ Watson, Paul Joseph. Former Governor Jesse Ventura: WTC Collapse A Controlled Demolition, www.prisonplanet.com. Accessed on April 3, 2008
  59. ^ Ventura Regrets Not Being More Skeptical Over 9/11. Retrieved on April 8, 2008.
  60. ^ Buoen, Roger (April 3, 2008). "Ventura wrestles with what really happened on 9/11". Minnesota Post. http://www.minnpost.com/politicalagenda/2008/04/03/1390/ventura_wrestles_with_what_really_happened_on_911. Retrieved May 23, 2009. 
  61. ^ Jesse Ventura, Hannity Go Head-To-Head
  62. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/30/jesse-ventura-working-on_n_130477.html
  63. ^ "TruTv:Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura", www.turner.com. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  64. ^ Imbd:Tyrel Ventura, www.imdb.com.
  65. ^ "Jesse Ventura - Biography". Imdb.com. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001818/bio. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  66. ^ "This Week In FDA History". Fda.gov. http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WhatWeDo/History/ThisWeek/ucm117728.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  67. ^ "CNN.com - Ventura hospitalized with blood clot in lung - July 9, 2002". Archives.cnn.com. http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/07/09/ventura/index.html. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  68. ^ a b "Finishing Moves List". Other Arena. http://www.otherarena.com/nCo/finish/finish.html. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  69. ^ a b c d "Cagematch title listings". http://www.cagematch.de/?id=2&nr=53&view=erfolge#erfolge. 
  70. ^ "AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship history". http://www.wrestling-titles.com/us/tn/cwa/awa-s-h.html. 
  71. ^ "NWA Hawaii Tag Team Championship history". http://www.wrestling-titles.com/us/hi/hi-t.html. 

References

  • deFiebre, Conrad. "Record-high job approval for Ventura; Many Minnesotans like his style, don't mind moonlighting." Star Tribune 22 July 1999: 1A+.
  • deFiebre, Conrad. "Using body language, Ventura backs Kerry." Star Tribune 23 October 2004: 1A+.
  • Kahn, Joseph P. "The Body Politic." The Boston Globe 25 February 2004. Accessed April 28, 2004.
  • Olson, Rochelle and Bob von Sternberg. "GOP demands equal time; Wellstone aide apologizes; Ventura upset." Minneapolis Star-Tribune 31 October 2002: 1A+.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Arne Carlson
Governor of Minnesota
1999–2003
Succeeded by
Tim Pawlenty

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

I speak my mind. If it offends some people, well, there's not much I can do about that. But I'm going to be honest.

James George Janos (born 15 July 1951), usually known as Jesse Ventura, is an American politician and actor, a US Navy UDT veteran, retired professional wrestler, radio and television talk show host, and teacher, who became the 38th Governor of Minnesota.

Contents

Sourced

I believe in the separation of church and state... We all have our own religious beliefs...
  • I believe in the separation of church and state... We all have our own religious beliefs. There are people out there who are atheists, who don't believe at all... They are all citizens of Minnesota and I have to respect that.
    • Explaining his refusal to sign a "National Day of Prayer" proclamation (6 May 1999)
Patriotism is voluntary... A patriot shows their patriotism through their actions, by their choice... No law will make a citizen a patriot.
  • We call our country home of the brave and land of the free, but it's not. We give a false portrayal of freedom. We're not free — if we were, we'd allow people their freedom. Prohibiting something doesn't make it go away. Prostitution is criminal, and bad things happen because it's run illegally by dirt-bags who are criminals. If it's legal, then the girls could have health checks, unions, benefits, anything any other worker gets, and it would be far better.
    • Interview in Playboy (November 1999)
  • Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you'd want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people how to live.
    • Interview in Playboy (November 1999)
  • If I could be reincarnated as a fabric, I would come back as a 38 double-D bra.
    • Interview in Playboy (November 1999)
  • I speak my mind. If it offends some people, well, there's not much I can do about that. But I'm going to be honest. I'm going to continue to speak my mind, and that's who I am...
    • NBC's Meet The Press (3 October 1999) responding to criticism of his remarks in Playboy magazine.
  • Congratulations, you have a sense of humor. And to those who didn't: Go stick your head in the mud.
    • Speaking in a news conference to reporters, where a few were wearing the "Official Jackal" security passes that he had issued. (23 February 2001)
  • I asked him the most important question that I think you could ask — if he had ever seen Caddyshack.
  • I believe patriotism comes from the heart. Patriotism is voluntary. It is a feeling of loyalty and allegiance that is the result of knowledge and belief. A patriot shows their patriotism through their actions, by their choice.
    Chapter 391 is not about choice. In Chapter 391, the State mandates patriotic actions and displays. Our government should not dictate actions. The United States of America exists because people wanted to be free to choose. All of us should have free choice when it comes to patriotic displays... a government wisely acting within its bounds will earn loyalty and respect from its citizens. A government dare not demand the same.
    There is much more to being a patriot and a citizen than reciting the pledge or raising a flag.
    Patriots serve. Patriots vote. Patriots attend meetings in their community. Patriots pay attention to the actions of government and speak out when needed. Patriots teach their children about our history, our precious democracy and about citizenship. Being an active, engaged citizen means being a patriotic American every day. No law will make a citizen a patriot.
    • Explaining his veto of a bill [HF 2598*/SF 2411/CH 391] requiring public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at least once a week (22 May 2002)
The current use of the National Guard is wrong...
  • I feel used. I feel violated and duped over the fact that that turned into nothing more than a political rally.
    • After leaving a memorial ceremony for Democratic US Senator Paul Wellstone. (30 October 2002)

I Ain't Got Time To Bleed (1999)

Full title: I Ain't Got Time To Bleed: Reworking the Body Politic from the Bottom Up
I'm living proof that the myths aren't true. The candidate with the most money isn't always the one who wins.
  • I didn't need this job. I ran for governor to find out if the American dream still exists in anyone's heart other than mine. I'm living proof that the myths aren't true. The candidate with the most money isn't always the one who wins. You don't have to be a career politician to serve in public office. You don't have to be well-connected. You don't even have to be a Democrat or a Republican. You can stand on your own two feet and speak your mind, because if people like where you're coming from, they will vote you in. The will of the people is still the most powerful force in our government.
  • Politics is not my life. I have a career in radio and another career in film. I have a wife who is the sweetest person in the world and two kids who are growing up into terrific, well-rounded people. I don't want to spend the rest of my life in politics. When I'm finished with my term as governor, I'm going back to the life that's waiting for me in the private sector.
There's a great need in our government right now for honesty. I speak my mind... if I don't know something, I'll say so. Then I'll try to find the answer.
  • During my transition period, I brought in 13 people who were either first-time voters or who hadn't voted in five consecutive elections. I asked each of them a question: Now that you've come into the system, how do we keep you involved?
    Their answers were very clear, very honest. They said, It's the same story every four years. Whenever an election's coming up, all the politicians come out and give you the same song and dance about the same issues, all the way up until they get elected. Then you don't hear any more from them until it's time for them to get elected again. We're tired of it. If you want to keep us involved, don't tell us what you think we want to hear, tell us the truth.
    There's a great need in our government right now for honesty. I speak my mind. You might not always like what you hear, but you're gonna hear it anyway. I call it like I see it; I tell the truth. And if I don't know something, I'll say so. Then I'll try to find the answer.
  • I decided to run for governor because I got mad.... I want to make government more directly accountable to the people.
  • I am not a career politician. I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican. I'm a working man with commonsense ideas and goals. I describe myself politically as fiscally conservative and socially moderate-to-liberal.
  • I don't believe we need the government's help as much as some think we do. That belief sets me apart from the Democrats, since their way of dealing with everything is to tax and spend.
    I also believe that government has no business telling us how we should live our lives. I think our lifestyle choices should be left up to us. What we do in our private lives is none of the government's business. That position rules out the Republican Party for me. As the cliché says, "I don't want Democrats in the boardroom and I don't want Republicans in the bedroom."
There are a lot of good causes out there, but they can't possibly all be served by government.
  • There are a lot of good causes out there, but they can't possibly all be served by government. The Constitution guarantees us our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That's all. It doesn't guarantee our rights to charity.
    The government is not a parent. We can't expect the government to always be there, ready to bail us out. When we make decisions in life, we have to be willing to live with the consequences. We can't expect the government to help us get back on our feet every time we make a bad decision.
  • We've gotten into the bad habit of overlegislating. I believe in the America people's ability to govern themselves. If government would just get out of the way and allow them to lead their lives as they choose, they will succeed.
  • Remember that government doesn't earn one single dollar it spends. In order for you to get money from the government, that money must first be taken from somebody else.
  • Government works less efficiently when it begins to grow out of control and takes on more and more of the responsibilities that belong to the citizens.
  • Develop high expectations.
  • There's hardly a more effective way to solve the problems we face in our educational system than to reduce class size. A ratio of no more than 17 students per teacher ensures more 1-on-1 contact, better classroom discipline, you name it.
  • The best chance disabled students have for productive adult lives comes from being mainstreamed among other students. My daughter Jade is living proof of that. She has a disability, but we have made sure that she has gotten the same kind of exposure as other kids her age. There are a few exceptions; there are students whose special needs are such that mainstreaming won't work for them. But in the majority of cases, mainstreaming should be supported, encouraged, and facilitated for disabled students.
  • Students often approached me about state-paid tuition while I was out campaigning. After I explained to them that if the state pays their tuition now, they will pay higher taxes to pay other people's tuition for the rest of their lives, most of them ended up agreeing with me.
  • Government's role should be only to keep the playing field level, and to work hand in hand with business on issues such as employment. But beyond this, to as great an extent as possible, it should get the hell out of the way.
  • I'm against the draft. I believe we should have a professional military; it might be smaller, but it would be more effective.
Just as with many other social issues, I don't think that legislation is the most effective arena in which to fight crime.
  • People are always shocked when they ask me what I plan to do about crime as governor and my answer comes back as "Nothing!" Does the issue of crime need to be addressed? You bet it does. But, just as with many other social issues, I don't think that legislation is the most effective arena in which to fight crime. We already have tons of laws on the books. Most of those laws would work more effectively if we just enforced them better.
    As governor, there isn't a lot I can do beyond that to crack down on crime. Law enforcement is really a local issue. It's the cops' job to tighten down on criminals.
    Politicians always like to say "I'm gonna fight crime!" because it makes them sound great and gets them votes. But what can a politician do to fight crime?
  • How come life in prison doesn't mean life? Until it does, we're not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop thinking in terms of "punishment" for a minute and think in terms of safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible murderers. Americans have a right to go about their lives without worrying about these people being back out on the street. So until we can make sure they're off the street permanently, we have to grit our teeth and put up with the death penalty. So we need to work toward making a life sentence meaningful again. If life meant life, I could, if you'll excuse the pun, live without the death penalty.
    We don't have it here in Minnesota, thank God, and I won't advocate to get it. But I will advocate to make life in prison mean life. I don't think I would want the responsibility for enforcing the death penalties. There's always the inevitable question of whether someone you gave the order to execute might truly have been innocent.
  • There's no question that we need tougher drunk-driving laws for repeat offenders. We need to take a lesson from European countries where driving isn't a right but a privilege. There isn't a person on this planet by this time who doesn't know that when you consume alcohol you shouldn't get behind the wheel of a car. The people who do it anyway should have their privilege to drive taken away.
Our government has the weirdest bias against cannabis. There's no reason for everybody to be so afraid of it.
  • Our government has the weirdest bias against cannabis. There's no reason for everybody to be so afraid of it. It's not the antichrist the DEA makes it out to be. Industrial hemp is a very useful plant. I challenged the attorney general to get rid of the criminal stigma associated with hemp so we can look at it in terms of how it might be useful. And government has no business telling us what we can and can't use for pain relief.
  • We shouldn't be wasting so much time and so many resources on prosecuting consensual crimes such as prostitution and drug possession. I hold drug possession and drug dealing as two totally different concepts. The drug dealers who resort to deadly street violence should be dealt with severely as the criminals they are.
    But we have to become willing to admit as a nation that our war against drugs has failed. And we have to start looking for other solutions. I want the drug business stopped. But I know it never will stop as long as people want the drugs. It's supply and demand. You can even get drugs in prison.
If you can put 2 rounds into the same hole from 25 meters, that's gun control!
  • I'm all for gun control, I just define it a little differently. If you can put 2 rounds into the same hole from 25 meters, that's gun control! If you're going to own a gun, you have an obligation to know what you're doing with it. When the Constitution gave us the right to bear arms, it also made us responsible for using them properly. It's not fair of us as citizens to lean more heavily on one side of that equation than on the other.
    So I support waiting periods and training requirements for gun ownership, and I like the idea that is shouldn't be incredibly easy to get guns. I support the right to carry concealed weapons, but I think people who want a concealed-weapons permit need to pass a training and safety course. The Constitution calls for a "well-regulated militia." In other words, you need to know how to use your weapon, and practice with it.
    Where I draw the line is at gun registration. A law that says that everybody who owns a gun has to be on record is too easy to abuse.
  • I don't support abortion. I could never participate in one. But I think it would be a mistake to make them illegal again. What criminalization will do is force women into garages and back alleys, and then you're going to have two lives in jeopardy. My mom, who was a nurse, used to talk about the messes that would come in after back-alley abortions went wrong. The way to stop abortion is to deal, philosophically and spiritually, with the people who get them. And that's not something government can touch.
  • I get very disturbed when I see people demonstrating with signs that say "Welfare Rights." There is nothing in the Constitution that says you have a right to welfare! Do you know what welfare is? It's taking money from someone who is working to give to someone who's not!
  • A Navy SEAL will defy death at least twice a week. When you get that kind of familiarity with death, barriers go down, and anything else seems insignificant.
    I don't like what happened in the navy's Tailhook scandal; I think what those officers did was wrong. But I understand why it happened. When you get a force of that many hundreds of warriors together, there's bound to be trouble.
War isn't civilized. War is failure. It's the ultimate result of a breakdown in public policy...
  • War isn't civilized. War is failure. It's the ultimate result of a breakdown in public policy, and soldiers are the machines that handle that breakdown. In warfare, you're taught to do whatever you have to, to stay alive.
  • Even while I was a Navy SEAL, I participated in the 1970s peace movement. I marched at peace rallies. I admit it wasn't so much because of my great love of peace as it was because of my great love of female companionship. To the women in the movement, I was the poor beleaguered victim of the system, sent off against his will to fight this horrible war. They didn't realize that the navy had no draft!
  • To this day, I'm against the draft. I believe the military is much stronger if it's an all-volunteer organization.
  • I believe very strongly that guns are instruments of death. That's all they're used for; there's no purpose for them other than to kill. I think you have to understand that in order to respect them. I have no fear of my teenage son handling weapons, because he has that respect.
  • I'm not knocking private schools, but I owe it to my kids to let them grow up in a place where private school isn't required. They're only in school 6-8 hours a day; they have to live in their neighborhood 24 hours a day. I didn't want them growing up in a place where anybody with the means had abandoned their public schools.
  • I believe I was destined to become mayor of Brooklyn Park. And maybe, by fulfilling that destiny to become mayor, I sealed my destiny to become governor. I hope I'm not destined to become president. I don't say that with arrogance — it's only that everything seemed to fall so easily into place in both of my other races. But I truly wanted to be mayor and governor — I don't want the presidency. I'll never say never, because you never know what will happen. But 99% of me says no.
I used to joke that it would be nice if a magic wand came with the job, if I could just wave it and make things work the way they're supposed to. But unfortunately it's not that easy... in a lot of situations all I can do is tell people the truth and let the chips fall where they may.
  • While I was mayor, I learned that government is a system of checks and balances — you can't simply walk in and change things. It takes time. I used to joke that it would be nice if a magic wand came with the job, if I could just wave it and make things work the way they're supposed to. But unfortunately it's not that easy. The bureaucracy is so huge that in a lot of situations all I can do is tell people the truth and let the chips fall where they may.
  • Whenever you take a stand on an issue, people will line up around the block to kick your ass over it. By having an opinion, you make yourself a target. Why do you think Congress likes to hide behind closed doors at decision-making time?
    I put all the city council meetings on public TV, over the good old boys' objections. Exposure creates an educated, involved public, which isn't in the interests of the old-boy network.
  • I view the traditional two parties as in some ways very evil. They've become monsters that are out of control. The two parties don't have in mind what's best for Minnesota. The only things that are important to them are their own agendas and their pork. Government's become just a battle of power between the two parties. But now that Minnesota has a governor who truly comes from the private sector, a lot of light's going to be shed on how the system is unfair to people outside the two parties.
  • Don't look for me to make a run for the White House. I don't want that. I see what happens to everyone who takes that office: They all go in so virile and young, and then in the course of 4 years they age 20. I can get by being governor, but being president would be too much stress, too much responsibility — I'd be the most powerful person in the world! And I don't want to do that to Terry. I won't say absolutely not, but I wouldn't put any money on there ever being a Jesse "The Prez" Ventura.
  • Over the past few decades, we've gotten into the bad habit of looking to the government to solve every personal and social crisis that comes along. People have really come to misunderstand government's scope. There's only so much it can do. For one thing, it's a terrible social regulator. And morals and values aren't things that legislation can even touch. You can't legislate morality. It doesn't work.
I don't have any problem with the vast majority of religious folks... I do have a problem with the people who think they have some right to try to impose their beliefs on others.
  • I'd like to clarify my comments about religious people being weak-minded. I didn't mean all religious people. I don't have any problem with the vast majority of religious folks. I count myself among them, more or less. But I believe because it makes sense to me, not because I think it can be proven. There are lots of people out there who think they know the truth about God and religion, but does anybody really know for sure? That's why the founding fathers built freedom of religious belief into the structure of this nation, so that everybody could make up their minds for themselves.
    But I do have a problem with the people who think they have some right to try to impose their beliefs on others. I hate what the fundamentalist fanatics are doing to our country. It seems as though, if everybody doesn't accept their version of reality, that somehow invalidates it for them. Everybody must believe the same things they do. That's what I find weak and destructive.
  • I'm not disparaging suicides when I call them weak, I'm pointing out that anybody who would consider doing a thing like that needs help. I don't think a normal, mentally healthy person commits suicide. Of course, there are exceptions; people who are terminally ill are a different issue. But in the vast majority of cases, suicide is a tragedy that does unbelievable damage to the family and friends the suicide leaves behind. You don't want to encourage people to do such a thing.
  • I'd like to work on having every fourth year become a year in which no laws are made, but the old laws are reviewed, updated, or deleted as needed. That way we won't get endless, obsolete laws piling up on the books.
Our secular constitution has enabled people of all world views to coexist in harmony, undivided by sectarian strife...

Indivisible Day Proclamation (2002)

Eternal vigilance must be maintained to guard against those who seek to stifle ideas, establish a narrow orthodoxy, and divide our nation along arbitrary lines of race, ethnicity, and religious belief or non-belief.
  • Whereas: The unique features of this nation at its foundation was its establishment of a secular Constitution that separated government from religion — something never done before; and
    Whereas: Our secular constitution has enabled people of all world views to coexist in harmony, undivided by sectarian strife; and
    Whereas: President James Madison made clear the importance of maintaining this harmony when he said, "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the endless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries"; and
    Whereas: The diversity of our people requires mutual respect and equal protection for all our citizens, including minority groups, if we are to remain "One nation, indivisible"; and
    Whereas: It is the unfettered diversity of ideas and world views that have made our nation the strongest and most productive in the world; and
    Whereas: Eternal vigilance must be maintained to guard against those who seek to stifle ideas, establish a narrow orthodoxy, and divide our nation along arbitrary lines of race, ethnicity, and religious belief or non-belief.
    Now Therefore, I, Jesse Ventura, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim that Thursday July 4, 2002 shall be observed as: Indivisible Day In the State of Minnesota.
A third-party candidate is never treated equally. They look at you as a novelty, as cannon fodder...

Harvard interview (February 2004)

"The Body politic", The Boston Globe (25 February 2004)
  • They could care less about the public. The public comes in third. Number one is keeping their power. Number two are the special interests, the people footing the bill. Finally, the public good might be third — if they can profit from it. If there's no profit, they could care less.
    • On Democrats and Republicans
  • It's panhandling. . . That's the system we have, though. It's based on bribery.
    • On political fund-raising
  • A third-party candidate is never treated equally. They look at you as a novelty, as cannon fodder. "This is entertaining," they think, "but we'll go back to the Democrats and Republicans, because only they can run our government." Which is baloney.
  • Could someone please tell me how this will affect me? Come on, this is Harvard, folks. I came all the way out here to learn this.
    • On same-sex marriage.
  • Some felt I'm not academically qualified, and they're right.
    • On teaching at Harvard.
  • I give kudos to them for having the courage to bring me here... The risk is, I'm not the status quo.
  • I thought to myself, "This is Harvard", You expect Harvard to be this stuffy, arrogant place. But then you get here and see how bright everyone is — what could be better? I loved it.
  • When you have an opportunity to learn, you become smarter at more things. Having run government for four years, and being in charge of 26 departments, that's an education. So I think I'm savvier today. And probably more cynical.
  • Why did they label me a college dropout? The connotation is, he left to go have fun. Not that I served honorably in the Navy, went to college on the GI Bill, trained to be a pro wrestler, and took a job when the opportunity came up. Isn't that what college is for, to prepare you to earn a living? The positive is, I still have three years of eligibility left — if Harvard wants me for its football team.
    • On the "stupid, lazy" media reports on his lack of a college education.
  • Having been a villain in wrestling, my relationship with the media has always been rocky. They don't view wrestling for what it really is, entertainment.
  • I looked at my wife and said, "You know what? If these people put their own dollar-an-hour raise above the integrity of our nation, I don't wanna be their boss anymore."
    • On his reaction to Minnesota state workers going on strike.

Movies

  • Bunch a slackjawed faggots around here. This stuff will make you a goddamned Sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me (from Predator)

Quotes about Ventura

  • What I found most refreshing about Governor Ventura was his willingness to defend his positions and attack his interrogators. . . He's an imposing man who's not easily intimidated, and he's convinced he has the aura that will take him to higher places.
    • Lawrence Grobel, interviewer for Playboy magazine.
  • Can you believe a governor of a state in America would say such an insensitive, bigoted thing?
    • US Senator Trent Lott, about Ventura's remarks about organized religion in Playboy magazine.
  • While this may have been intended as a joke we take the matter seriously and will not subject AP staffers to wearing something that may be intended to demean them and their profession.
    • David Pyle, Minnesota bureau chief for the Associated Press rejecting the use of "Official Jackal" security badges.
  • His most substantial contribution to American politics is that he showed that in the right conditions and with the right strategy, you can drive an independent populist truck straight through the Potemkin village that is the party system... His legacy is that he showed that a centrist candidate with a healthy disrespect for big everything — corporations, government, media — can rally the unhappy, inchoate middle and ride that into office.
    • Micah Sifry author of Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America (2002)
  • He was governor of an important state and a phenomenon in American political life... It's true he's not an intellectual, but he has street smarts. Plus, Jesse is fun to be around. I have no qualms whatsoever.
    • Dan Glickman, director of the Harvard Institute of Politics on hiring Ventura as a visiting fellow.

External links

Wikipedia
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