MINNEAPOLIS - Jesse Ventura, the former governor of Minnesota, just finished addressing a raucous crowd of Ron Paul supporters here at the Target Center. The Body, who said he’s been living off and on in Mexico over the past months, said that he can feel something shaking in the U.S. and that if it continues to rock, he’ll jump into the ring in 2012.
“If this country shows me that it’s worth it for me to do it, well then maybe in 2012,” he thundered, bringing the house down. As the crowd quieted, he concluded his speech: “Chanting and yelling isn’t going to do it. I need to see it by action. I will be watching. And if I see it, in 2012 we’ll give them a race they’ll never forget.”
Ventura, who is now bald on top but has shoulder-length hair otherwise, is a popular figure among the libertarian-leaning crowd and got his most feverish response in defense of the second amendment. He let the crowd know that he wasn’t concerned about the right to bear arms so that he could hunt, but that the real purpose of the amendment is to ensure that “if the government gets out of control…we have the ability to rise up and change it.”
Ventura also confronted the crowd. Previous speakers had intoned against undocumented workers and Paul supporters tend to see the fight against illegal immigration as a top concern. Ventura, however, mocked those who “fear the brown people.” Defending the immigrants, he told the crowd the laborers wanted nothing more than they themselves did. He cited his and his family’s military service in defending his right to take the unpopular position.
It wasn’t all confrontation, though. Ventura served up red meat to the Paul supporters by questioning why Osama bin Laden has yet to be charged with the attacks on 9/11.
The crowd responded with a chant: “Inside job!”