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Reporter's Notebook - Wednesday, August 2, 2000
By Mike Mulcahy
Part of's Republican National Convention coverage.

Ron Eibensteiner smiles after ripping the governor. (See larger.)
The chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party used his moment in the spotlight at the GOP National Convention in Philadelphia to ridicule Governor Jesse Ventura. State Party Chair Ron Eibensteiner announced the delegation's vote by calling Minnesota "the land of 10,000 lakes and one goofy governor."

At a convention designed to appeal to independent voters, where presumptive Democratic nominee Al Gore's name has hardly been mentioned, the name calling stood out.

Gore has met several times with Ventura, and while the two men say they've struck up a friendship, it's hard to see the vice president's election year appearances with the third party governor as anything other than a bid to appeal to the independent voters who helped elect Ventura.

Shortly after Eibensteiner insulted the governor, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman leveled his strongest criticism yet of Ventura's administration. He told MPR, "I think after four years of Ventura, people want somebody who really governs... who has a vision for governing...who cares about governing."

Coleman, who finished second to Ventura in 1998 in a three way race with DFL'er Skip Humphrey, says he is strongly considering another run for governor and will make a final decision after this year's campaign. Coleman chairs George W. Bush's Minnesota effort. He's being mentioned for a possible job in a Bush administration, but his constant presence around Minnesota delegates and his own comments clearly show he's more interested in a house on Summit Avenue than one inside the beltway. Ventura hasn't said yet whether he'll run for reelection.
John McCain's Tuesday night speech wowed delegates.

State party officials are hoping George W. Bush will visit Minnesota in September or October, and while Governor Ventura has said he's willing to meet with the Texas governor, the rising animosity between the GOP and Ventura could make such a meeting doubtful.

Governor Ventura has often said he lives by the code of the Navy Seals: "Don't get mad. Get even." Ventura's staff hasn't ruled out a visit to Los Angeles during the Democratic National Convention. The brush-off from the GOP could serve to drive Ventura even closer to the Gore camp. If Ventura is able to lend some of his personal popularity in Minnesota to Al Gore (and that's a big if given the governor's track record with coattails so far), Eibensteiner and Coleman may regret live to regret their words in Philadelphia.

Minnesota delegates went to see the Liberty Bell and other historic sights on Tuesday. Another attraction for those who didn't get invited to the "right" parties is PoliticalFest (sic) at the Convention Center downtown. The exhibit includes a recreation of the Oval Office and the facade of the White House, a mock-up of Air Force One, and presidential memorabilia ranging from campaign signs to presidential footwear. (Abe Lincoln had very large feet, by the way)