Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura

Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura

Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura

Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura

Synopsis

Jesse Ventura burst into national consciousness-and late-night punch lines-when the former professional wrestler was unexpectedly elected governor of Minnesota in 1998. An overnight political sensation whose only previous relevant experience was a brief period as mayor of a Minneapolis suburb, Ventura became a lightning rod for the media, combining the bravado of a Navy SEAL, the showmanship of a movie actor, and the blunt speech and bluff humor of a talk-radio host with a surprising passion for public policy and legislative reform. In this revealing chronicle of Jesse Ventura’s campaign, election, and time in office, political reporter Tom Hauser tells us what he saw as one of the "media jackals" covering the governor for local television station KSTP. In a saga full of drama, hi-jinks, and controversy, Hauser offers the inside story of the hubbub surrounding Ventura-from his triumphal tour of the late-night talk shows upon his election, to his outspoken and outrageous revelations in Playboy, to his stints as referee for the World Wrestling Federation and commentator for the failed XFL, to his ongoing battles with the state legislature. Hauser also provides insight into Ventura’s popularity, character, and motivations-his impatience with conventional wisdom, his distrust of traditional politics, and his combative relationship with the media. Though to many Ventura seemed to come out of nowhere, Hauser has been following him since the day he filed to run for governor, when he was the underdog in a race against two well-established career politicians, backed by major parties. Hauser offers the only detailed account available of Ventura’s amazing rise and reign, providing an evenhanded look at a political story that will leave readers feeling that truth really is stranger than fiction.

Excerpt

The annual holiday party hosted by Hubbard Broadcasting in the Twin Cities is known to be a lavish affair. The cocktail and hors d’oeuvres hour is always followed by a sit-down dinner for hundreds of employees. A celebrity from one of the company’s many broadcast holdings is usually tabbed to be master of ceremonies. On December 17, 1994, that celebrity is former professional wrestler Jesse “the Body” Ventura, a controversial but entertaining morning talk-show host on KSTP-AM. He also happens to be completing a four-year term as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

As master of ceremonies Ventura welcomes the crowd, tells a few jokes, and presides over the much anticipated drawing for fabulous door prizes. The first prize of the night is not only fabulous—a new mini-satellite-television system—it serves as a rather remarkable bit of foreshadowing. The next thing I know, Ventura pulls a name out of a box and reads, “Tom Hauser, KSTP-TV.” As I went up to shake Ventura’s hand and thank him, neither of us had an inkling I was going to need that satellite dish to keep track of his worldwide fame four years later.

I’d only met Ventura one other time, when I interviewed him for a story while he was mayor of Brooklyn Park. Now, seven years later, I’ve traveled the country and the world for KSTP-TV, covering his exploits as Minnesota’s governor. From Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. . . .

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