- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Jesse Ventura will not endorse George W. Bush or Al Gore for president, the Minnesota governor's spokesman tells The Washington Times today.
Responding to a story on The Times' Web page about GOP convention hall rumors of a Bush endorsement, John Wodele, Mr. Ventura's director of communications, said: "I showed your piece to the governor this morning and he was aghast, couldn't believe it.
"He speculated it was political party disinformation being distributed to gain some favor with the public by associating [the GOP] with the popular governor. Or at least it smacks of that," Mr. Wodele said.
"Republicans, of course, would deny that they had anything to do with that, but it happens at an event like this because there's not much else exciting going on, so they have to create something.
"The governor has stated clearly, as late as last night when asked in an interview with [NBC News correspondent] Maria Shriver whether he would endorse either of the traditional major party candidates, and he said absolutely not," the spokesman said. "He is loyal to the third-party movement, still believes in it as a way to get the people reengaged with the government process.
"That said, he has said and continues to say that he may well endorse specific policies of Bush or Gore, but that is as far as he will go," Mr. Wodele said. "It is unlikely that he will endorse Pat Buchanan. He left the Reform Party over that debacle. Whether he even endorses a candidate [in 2000] remains to be seen."
Mr. Ventura, a former professional wrestler, quit the Reform Party this year in a dispute over preferred presidential candidates after considering a run for the White House himself.
The political maverick has said Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush are "too rehearsed" and "too spun" to capture the independent vote, which he could garner easily.
"I still believe strongly that I could walk in and steal this election at the 11th hour," Mr. Ventura told Newsweek magazine in June.
Mr. Ventura said he's the only politician in the country whocould stage an upset in November, even though he's not a candidate, has noparty and does not want to live in Washington.


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