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Ventura Wrestles with Critics Over Personal Time
By Martin Kaste
June 25, 1999
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Governor Ventura is showing increasing irritation at what he perceives as unfair criticism of the way he does his job. He's especially annoyed at his Republican critics, and on his weekly radio show today , Ventura lashed out with a personal attack on the leader of a conservative anti-tax group.

IF THE GOVERNOR'S weekly radio show is any indication, the critics are beginning to get under Ventura's skin.

Ventura:All those guys out there - who's that one guy from the tax, I forget his name right now, that fat guy who looks like Lumpy Rutherford?

"Lumpy" Rutherford (aka Frank Bank)
"All those guys out there - who's that one guy from the tax, I forget his name right now, that fat guy who looks like Lumpy Rutherford?"

- Governor Ventura
Darrell McKigney is the name Ventura was looking for. McKigney is the president of a conservative anti-tax group that's been faxing out press releases attacking Ventura since before he was even elected. McKigney's most-recent fax attack called on Ventura to reimburse the state for the cost of bodyguards on his recent book tour, and he called the book itself "tasteless" and "bawdy."
Ventura: I think Mc-Mc-Mc-McKegney ... Whatever his name is, that big load. This guy who ain't never ran around the block before in his life. Doesn't have a real job. Anyway. What the heck, he takes shots at me! You want to blast me, get ready! You'll get it right back!
McKigney declined to respond in kind, except to say Ventura's comments demonstrate he doesn't take the office of governor seriously.
McKigney: The governor, I think, is trying to get off the issues by making this a personal battle and I'm not really interested in getting involved in that. I'm issue-oriented and I think the governor should be issue-oriented, and frankly, I think somebody in high office ought to be interested in talking issues and not trying to make this into some kind of wrestling schtick.
But Ventura says there is a larger issue at stake. He's frustrated that his critics don't recognize how much Minnesota benefits from his celebrity status; something he says was demonstrated by the crowds of reporters who turned out to watch him lobby for farmers in Washington this week.
Ventura: Here's a way, that because of whatever status I have, not that I want to brag about it or anything like that, but it provided an opportunity put above board, put on the front burner, and handled by the media, because I went there to testify.
Ventura also defends his celebrity lifestyle by saying he practices much of it on what he calls "personal time." For instance, he says he wrote and promoted his book on vacation days The problem with this is, governors don't have vacation time. State law says nothing about a gubernatorial work week, and a governor is free to work or play whenever he wants to. Ventura spokesman John Wodele acknowledges this, but he says the governor is still making a good-faith effort to separate his official duties from his celebrity life.
Wodele: I think it's meaningful in that he's admitting he's not at his desk and working his eight-hour shift or ten-hour shift or twelve-hour shift; whatever it might be. I think it's appropriate for him to say "I'm taking time off," it's being honest.
On his radio show, Ventura said he planned to take another "vacation day" next Friday, for what one aide called "personal business." John Wodele later confirmed that the "personal business" is a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe.