Sauntering on stage yesterday at Ron Paul’s Rally for the Republic, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura—dressed in a Navy SEAL tee shirt, a sport coat, and a baseball cap—knew he was in a friendly room. A small group of people rushed toward the podium at the Target Center in Minneapolis, as the crowd tried to jockey for a better position to see Ventura speak. Citing his experience as a professional wrestler, Ventura encouraged everyone in the room to boo him when they felt like it. He said that boos give him encouragement.
Most of Ventura’s speech, however, was met with thunderous applause. During his time on stage, words like “personal responsibility” and “the Constitution” were met by enthusiastic screams. At one point Ventura said that the 2nd Amendment is “not about hunting and fishing… [it] is there so that we the public, if our government gets out of control, we have the ability to rise up and change it.” It was the only rally I’ve ever attended where the idea of armed struggle against the US government could elicit such an enthusiastic response.
After the part about gun rights, Ventura began asking questions about what happened on September 11, 2001. The official government story didn’t hold water, according to Ventura, who questioned whether or not Osama bin Laden had carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center. Ventura said that many people wouldn’t like what he had to say about September 11, but his remarks were met warmly by the sold-out crowd at the Target Center.
His reception with Ron Paul supporters is so warm that Ventura overtly referenced his presidential ambitions for 2012. He said that the motivation for a campaign would have to come from the people, but if they worked hard enough, he would run for president. Short on specifics, Ventura’s announcement was met with cries of “Run Jesse, Run.”
You can watch part of his speech below:
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