He showed up at a State Capitol reception Friday in a tie-dyed shirt and bluejeans, showing off his “six-pack” abs to reporters and suggesting that he is in fighting shape should his nation come calling.
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who rarely returns to the Capitol offices he occupied from 1999 to 2003, took the opportunity to say that an independent fellow like him would make an excellent candidate for president in 2016.
Is he saying he’s running? Of course not. But he likes to dangle the possibility.
At a gathering that included three other governors — Gov. Mark Dayton and former Govs. Arne Carlson and Tim Pawlenty celebrating the retirement of State Patrol Sgt. Tony Policano, who helped protect them all — Ventura mentioned his expansive vision.
“I said that 2016 is an opportune moment because there’ll be no incumbent,” he told reporters after the reception. “I believe one issue that would carry me to victory … I would give the people of America to their first opportunity to elect a president who doesn’t belong to either party, since George Washington.”
“Who’s on the horizon?” he added. “I hear we’re going to get Hillary and Jeb Bush. Gee, I guess we’re now in England, aren’t we?”
Ventura has a book coming out and it is on book tours that he tends to plant the seed that he might run for the nation’s highest office.
The fact that he lives in Mexico much of the year and that he would want shock-jock Howard Stern as his running mate suggest that this seed might never germinate.
He said the possibility of a return to the “public arena” is why he has kept pursuing a defamation suit against former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle over a depiction of a bar fight in Kyle’s bestselling book. Kyle died in February.
“This thing never happened — ever,” Ventura said of Kyle’s depiction of him. “I’m doing this to clear my name. I’ve got to do it if I plan to do anything in the public arena again. I can’t have this hanging over my head.”
Ventura has had a number of media jobs since leaving the governorship, most recently hosting a cable-TV show called “Conspiracy Theory.”
He said that show apparently has not been renewed, but he offered a new tidbit that never aired — wristbands that, Ventura says, the Transportation Safety Administration will offer to help frequent fliers move more quickly through security.
The wristband “can disable you,”he said. “Anyone they want who’s wearing the [wristband], they can drop you to the ground.”