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'I don't want it'

Ventura has no plans to run for U.S. presidency

By BRENDAN O'HALLARN -- Winnipeg Sun

  No less an authority than Larry King believes Jesse Ventura has the stuff to be president.

 When the Minnesota governor visited his show early in 2000, King told him if he jumped into the presidential race (eventually won by Republican George Bush over Democrat Al Gore) he could win the White House.
Despite tackling some tough foes during his wrestling career, Ventura says he wants no part of a 'brutal' American presidential campaign. -- File photo


 STUNNING VICTORY

 King is only the most high-profile of political pundits to speculate that a Ventura presidential campaign would be a force to be reckoned with, since "The Body" turned his stunning 1998 win of the governor's seat into a no-nonsense, non-partisan government.

 But asked directly, Ventura said he has no plans to seek the Oval Office.

 "I'd have to have a major change of mind to do that," he said. "There would have to be some major political point I would want to make to do it."

 Ventura said after his stint in office (he has said repeatedly he has no intention of being a career politician) he intends to leave the public spotlight quickly, and quietly.

 He's also worried that if he sought the presidency, he might actually get it.

 "Because when I go after something, I go after it to win. And I don't want the job, because you lose your freedom," he said. "Also, if you look at presidents, they come in looking very young and they age about 20 years in four."

 Ventura doesn't want to put his family through the rigours of an election campaign. "They're brutal," he said.

 Plus, Ventura said he's no good at twisting arms -- well, for money.

 "I'm not good at asking people for donations so I can get a job."

 While he may never compete in the primaries, hold a national convention, or give a State of the Union address, Ventura is a keen observer of the national political scene.

 He said the defection of Republican Senator Jim Jeffords, which was talked and written about extensively as the end of the Bush Administration's agenda, is not a big deal.

 'BE A CENTRIST'

 Ventura's inner circle is comprised of an almost even split of Democrats and Republicans, a group which the governor calls the best cabinet of any state. He said Bush knows what he needs to do to run the country, as evidenced by the swift passage of his budget in the spring.

 "It's simple. Be a centrist. He's got to build coalitions on both sides, and he's doing it."

Minnesota governor plays up common ties before Winnipeg visit

More on Jesse Ventura




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