Jesse Ventura, former Minnesota governor and author of the new book Democrips and Rebloodlicans, refused to answer when asked if President Obama or Mitt Romney would be a better choice for the nation in the fall in a phone conversation with BuzzFeed today. Obama and former president George Bush are only separated by "the color of their skin," Ventura said.
Ventura is in New York City promoting his new book, which compares the two major political parties to two of the most famous street gangs in the country, the Crips and the Bloods. In the book, Ventura encourages voters to support a third party. "Anyone that reads this book, I don't know how they could possibly vote for a Democrat or a Republican," Ventura told BuzzFeed.
"I can’t see any difference in government between Bush and Obama apart from the color of their skin," Ventura said.
To reach Ventura, reporters have to call his hotel in New York, where he is staying under his real name (James Janos). Ventura does not have a cell phone and never plans to get one. "Who needs the aggravation?," he said. "Not only that, they can track you."
Ventura, who ran as a Reform Party candidate and served as the governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, said he wasn't voting for either main presidential candidate.
"They're both bad," he said. "I won’t vote for either one of them because it doesn’t matter."
"I’m voting for Libertarian former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, and I’m urging everyone to do that," Ventura said. He said he spent Wednesday with Johnson and plans to campaign with him often.
Ventura, a longtime Ron Paul supporter, said that he wishes Paul would have "stayed with the Republicans through the convention" to get TV time, and then ditched them and ran with Johnson — or on a separate third-party ticket — which Ventura would have hoped to join.
As for recent polling that shows that support for a third party is lower than ever, Ventura didn't seem surprised.
"Well I wouldn’t doubt it, because our credibility is always destroyed by the mainstream media," he said. "They usually label them a wingnut or have their little names for them. Both political parties and the media are owned by the corporations now."
In the years since his governorship, Ventura has stopped flying because he doesn't want to be "treated like a criminal at the airport."
This means that he took a train all the way from Minnesota to New York, which he can "handle better than the airport, being treated like a criminal and sexually assaulted."
"Janet Napolitano said if you don't like it, don't fly, so I took her advice," Ventura said.
Ventura splits his time between his home base north of St. Paul and another home in Mexico, where he is "an hour from pavement and an hour from electricity."
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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