Ventura Denies Buchanan Snub
EDINA, Minn. (AP) _ Gov. Jesse Ventura said today that he couldn’t see Pat Buchanan on Thursday because ``I was busy doing my job,″ and that the Republican turned Reform Party presidential candidate declined an offer for an alternate meeting.
Speaking on his weekly radio show, Ventura said he didn’t snub Buchanan, who on Thursday made his first visit to Minnesota since bolting the GOP. The governor said he was already on his way to football practice _ he is a volunteer coach _ when Buchanan called him late Thursday afternoon.
Ventura said he offered to have coffee with Buchanan today for 45 minutes at the governor’s residence, but Buchanan declined.
``They preferred a meeting with media and hoopla,″ Ventura said. ``I preferred a private meeting. They chose not to make it happen this morning.″ He added, ``I didn’t snub anyone. I was busy doing my job.″
On Thursday, more than 200 people lined up as Buchanan signed copies of his controversial book, ``A Republic, Not an Empire.″
Ventura has said Buchanan is welcome in the party. But he’s also made it clear that he _ the party’s highest elected officeholder _ wants someone else to be its presidential nominee. He even has left open the possibility of entering the race himself.
Buchanan is more conservative on social issues, where the Reform Party is neutral.
``The governor’s got a right to disagree with me,″ Buchanan said. But he cited several reasons why he thinks he is a good fit for the party, including his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement and support of campaign reforms.
He said he is ready to challenge any Reform candidate Ventura might support.
Minnesota Reform Party Chairman Rick McCluhan, who brought greetings for Buchanan from the governor, said he doesn’t think Buchanan will find much support in Minnesota.
But some of those waiting in line said they were impressed by Buchanan’s candor.
Paul Rampetsreiter, 28, a Republican and Minneapolis financial consultant, said Buchanan ``doesn’t back down and stands up for what he believes in.″