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Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura

Tom Hauser
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura
    Book Description:

    Tom Hauser offers the only detailed account of former pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura’s campaign, election, and time in office as governor of Minnesota.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9504-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 “We Shocked the World” Jesse Ventura’s Unlikely Path to the Governor’s Mansion
    (pp. 1-42)

    This story seems like a real loser. It’s July 21, 1998, one of those hot, sticky Minnesota summer days when you can see the heat rising off the asphalt. I know this all too well because I’m sitting in the parking lot of KFAN Radio in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, staking out a wrestler-turned-actor-turned-radio-talk-show-host who may or may not run for governor. Does anyone else smell radio-station publicity stunt? I do. But it’s a slow news day, and our threshold for what constitutes news is lowered significantly.

    Never mind the polls that say he doesn’t have a chance to...

  6. CHAPTER 2 “I Can Kick Your Ass!” The Quotable Ventura Becomes a Media Sensation
    (pp. 43-66)

    A sleep-deprived Jesse Ventura spends the first morning of his remarkable new life fending off the effects of a long night of celebrating with champagne. There’s no time to sleep it off. After going from long-shot former pro wrestler to governor-elect of Minnesota, he’s the hottest news flash in the country. He’s conducting dozens of interviews with national and local news organizations and making headlines around the world.

    CNN conducts a quick and unscientific Internet poll about Ventura’s election. Nearly forty thousand people respond, with 51 percent saying his election is a “refreshing change.” However, 36 percent say his election...

  7. CHAPTER 3 “Hooyah!” Governor Ventura Takes the Oath
    (pp. 67-96)

    The days since Jesse Ventura’s election have been filled with a seemingly nonstop string of speaking engagements. The speeches all give glimpses of why voters found Ventura so refreshing. After being introduced by Minnesota’s Supreme Court chief justice, Kathleen Blatz, Ventura points out to a convention of judges assembled at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott that, although he’s never had a day of law school, he’s probably the only unbeaten lawyer in the state. He tells the story about when the city of Brooklyn Park sued him when he was its mayor, claiming he was no longer a city resident and...

  8. CHAPTER 4 “Oh, Am I in Trouble Now!” Taking on Single Mothers and Drunken Irishmen
    (pp. 97-118)

    Jesse Ventura continues to take a stand against anyone trying to cash in on his name, whether it’s Garrison Keillor of public-radio fame or a sixty-three-year-old secretary in the State Capitol. Keillor runs afoul of the governor when he publishes a satirical novel based on Ventura’s unfathomable rise from professional wrestling to the governor’s office. The book,Me, by Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente, subtly pokes fun at Ventura’s emergence from working-class childhood to pro wrestling to ego-driven politics through the fictitious character named in the title. Ventura doesn’t seem as upset by the subject matter as he does by someone...

  9. CHAPTER 5 “We Can’t Legislate against Every Stupid Thing” Ventura’s Vision for Minnesota
    (pp. 119-146)

    “I have the honor to announce the arrival of the governor of the great state of Minnesota, the honorable Jesse Ventura,” shouts the sergeant-at-arms of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

    On March 2, 1999, Governor Ventura is ushered into the ornate House chambers amid much fanfare to deliver his first State of the State address. The ceiling is adorned with the names of four early French explorers in Minnesota, La Salle, Hennepin, Perrot, and Duluth. The House chamber has been in use since 1905, but the most remarkable slice of its history is being written as Ventura walks down the...

  10. CHAPTER 6 “A Trick and Ten Dollars” Jesse’s Book Tells All
    (pp. 147-176)

    With just twelve days to go in the 1999 legislative session, Jesse Ventura invites the House and Senate leaders to the governor’s mansion to break the stalemate over their competing tax bills. Ventura, House Speaker Steve Sviggum, and Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe have virtually nothing in common. Ventura is a forty-seven-year-old ex-professional wrestler from Minneapolis with no prior state-government experience. The Republican Sviggum is a forty-seven-year-old farmer from Kenyon in southeastern Minnesota serving his twelfth term in the House and first as House Speaker. Moe has seen eight House Speakers and three governors come and go since he first...

  11. CHAPTER 7 “I Don’t Have to Do Anything, I’m a Governor” Ventura’s Talk-Radio Comeback
    (pp. 177-194)

    “Jesse, just one important question. How often do you masturbate?”

    It’s not the sort of question a governor gets asked every day. Let’s face it, this might be the first time any governor’s been asked that question—at least in public. Anyone who figures Jesse Ventura won’t make much news now that his legislative sparring partners have gone home badly underestimates his ability to attract attention.

    On June 2, 1999, it looks as if Ventura is in the eye of an electrical storm. Flashbulbs pop furiously as photographers vie for his attention while he signs copies of his book at...

  12. CHAPTER 8 “A Ritual Political Suicide” Shocking the World Again
    (pp. 195-210)

    It’s not long before Jesse Ventura does more to blur the line between politics and the World Wrestling Federation. In fact, the governor all but erases the line by agreeing to take part in a huge pay-per-view wrestling event. If he thought he had critics before, he better hold onto his feather boa and brace for more. On July 12, 1999, his office issues a short release confirming rumors that have circulated for more than a month. “Governor Ventura is scheduled to participate in “Summer-Slam,” a pay-per-view wrestling event sponsored by the World Wrestling Federation on Sunday, August 22. The...

  13. CHAPTER 9 “I’m Proud I’m a Wrestler” The Body’s New Chyna Policy
    (pp. 211-232)

    On August 7, 1999, Jesse Ventura arrives in St. Louis for the third National Governors Conference since his election. He’s still the star attraction among the governors gathered at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. The summer session of the conference is usually a sleepy affair that doesn’t attract much attention. Not this year. Both President Clinton and Colin Powell are scheduled to speak to the governors, heightening the event’s profile.

    Clinton focuses much of his speech on bad-mouthing a tax-cut bill the Republican-controlled House recently passed in Congress as an attempt to deal with a growing federal budget surplus. The president...

  14. CHAPTER 10 “Organized Religion Is a Sham” Playboy!
    (pp. 233-250)

    In early September 1999, national Reform Party leaders pick California as the site of the party’s 2000 national convention where the presidential nominee will be chosen. The choice of Long Beach over four potential sites in Minnesota is viewed as a slap in the face to Jesse Ventura. After all, he’s the highest-ranking elected Reform Party member in the country and its standard-bearer. What better place to rally around a new presidential candidate than in the only state to elect a Reform Party candidate in a statewide election? It seems like a no-brainer.

    So why the snub? The Ross Perot...

  15. CHAPTER 11 “You Have Brought Shame . . .” No Apologies
    (pp. 251-276)

    On Friday, October 1, 1999, Jesse Ventura is back on the air for his weeklyLunch with the Governorradio show. His critics have been havinghimfor lunch for two days now, and it’s finally his chance to respond without the “filter” of the media. “I’ve learned that you will have an extremely difficult time if you get elected to high office and you’re honest,” Ventura tells his statewide listening audience. He’s broadcasting from his office with a larger-than-usual contingent of reporters listening and recording the audio feed of the show in the adjacent reception room.

    To his credit,...

  16. CHAPTER 12 “Blatant Political Garbage” The Reform Party Implodes While the Governor Stands Alone
    (pp. 277-312)

    Governor Jesse Ventura gets a chance to shake off thePlayboyfiasco by trying his hand as an international statesman. On November 3, 1999, he wakes up halfway around the world at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo. He’s leading a Minnesota trade delegation in Japan and will spend the first anniversary of his improbable election victory visiting his roots. His wrestling roots, anyway.

    With a busload of Minnesota reporters and a handful of Japanese television and newspaper reporters in tow, Ventura visits a “sumo shrine” that, from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, was the site of major sumo tournaments in...

  17. CHAPTER 13 “10,000 Lakes and One Goofy Governor” From The Young and the Restless to the Lincoln Bedroom
    (pp. 313-332)

    Despite the veto overrides and the nearly constant rancor, it would be difficult to describe Governor Jesse Ventura’s second legislative session as anything but successful. For the second year in a row, income taxes have been cut. He helped hold the line on spending in the capital-bonding projects bill, which totaled $539 million, or about half the size of the previous bonding bill two years ago. Another sales-tax rebate check is on its way to Minnesotans. He fended off legislators who wanted to eliminate funding for light-rail transit. And he made good on one of his main campaign promises by...

  18. CHAPTER 14 “This Governor Is Out of Bounds” Moonlighting with the XFL
    (pp. 333-362)

    On January 3, 2001, Governor Jesse Ventura finally does get a chance to get back to state business. It’s the start of a new legislative session, the third with Ventura at the helm, and, for the first time, he has a true ally in the legislature. Bob Lessard, a longtime Democratic state senator from International Falls, defects to Ventura’s Independence Party. He becomes the only member of the governor’s party among the 201 state legislators. Ventura campaigned for several Independence Party candidates during 2000, but his coattails have proven to be shorter than the wrestling shorts he used to wear....

  19. CHAPTER 15 September 11, 2001 Minnesota’s Commander-in-Chief Wages War on the Media
    (pp. 363-404)

    Those chilling words cross the Associated Press news wire at 7:49 A.M. CDT on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Life will never be the same in Minnesota, the United States, or the world. Four minutes earlier, terrorists struck the first blow in what will become a holy war, or jihad, against America. It will be the defining test of leadership for politicians and government leaders throughout the nation as President George W. Bush boldly declares a “war on terrorism.” It also opens a bizarre new chapter in Governor Jesse Ventura’s jihad against the media.

    Within an hour of the World Trade...

  20. Index
    (pp. 405-427)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 428-428)