Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura


Tom Hauser

A firsthand account of the remarkable rise of Minnesota’s unconventional governor.

Tom Hauser offers the only detailed account of former pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura’s campaign, election, and time in office as governor of Minnesota.

In Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura, Tom Hauser has written an astute, laugh-out-loud political biography. Hauser’s book is a fascinating look at the dynamics of an American political freak show.

Washington Post

Jesse Ventura burst into national consciousness-and late-night punch lines-when the former professional wrestler was unexpectedly elected governor of Minnesota in 1998. An overnight political sensation whose only previous relevant experience was a brief period as mayor of a Minneapolis suburb, Ventura became a lightning rod for the media, combining the bravado of a Navy SEAL, the showmanship of a movie actor, and the blunt speech and bluff humor of a talk-radio host with a surprising passion for public policy and legislative reform.

In this revealing chronicle of Jesse Ventura’s campaign, election, and time in office, political reporter Tom Hauser tells us what he saw as one of the "media jackals" covering the governor for local television station KSTP. In a saga full of drama, hi-jinks, and controversy, Hauser offers the inside story of the hubbub surrounding Ventura-from his triumphal tour of the late-night talk shows upon his election, to his outspoken and outrageous revelations in Playboy, to his stints as referee for the World Wrestling Federation and commentator for the failed XFL, to his ongoing battles with the state legislature. Hauser also provides insight into Ventura’s popularity, character, and motivations-his impatience with conventional wisdom, his distrust of traditional politics, and his combative relationship with the media.

Though to many Ventura seemed to come out of nowhere, Hauser has been following him since the day he filed to run for governor, when he was the underdog in a race against two well-established career politicians, backed by major parties. Hauser offers the only detailed account available of Ventura’s amazing rise and reign, providing an evenhanded look at a political story that will leave readers feeling that truth really is stranger than fiction.

Tom Hauser is the chief political reporter for KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities. He has traveled with Governor Jesse Ventura more extensively than any other reporter, to Tokyo and Mexico City and to Los Angeles, Washington, and New York. He was with him on the set of The Young and the Restless, ringside at World Wrestling Federation bouts, and at Ground Zero in New York City.

In Inside the Ropes with Jesse Ventura, Tom Hauser has written an astute, laugh-out-loud political biography. Hauser’s book is a fascinating look at the dynamics of an American political freak show.

Washington Post

By recounting every outrageous thing our Governor has said, in conjunction with detailing each public policy move made by the administration, Hauser captures the essence of what has been the past four years in Minnesota politics. Or, as Hauser sums it up in the book, ‘how Ventura-centric government style is the norm.’ Hauser wonderfully chronicles all of the zany things our governor has said and done.

Politics in Minnesota

Hauser writes clearly and pulls no punches. To his credit, he gives Ventura credit when he deserves it, which is pretty generous considering Ventura’s outbursts about the media.

Dave Wood’s Book Report



1. “We Shocked the World” Jesse Ventura’s Unlikely Path to the Governor’s Mansion
2. “I Can Kick Your Ass!” The Quotable Ventura Becomes a Media Sensation
3. ”Hooyah!” Governor Ventura Takes the Oath
4. ”Oh, Am I in Trouble Now!” Taking on Single Mothers and Drunken Irishmen
5. ”We Can’t Legislate against Every Stupid Thing” Ventura’s Vision for Minnesota
6. “A Trick and Ten Dollars” Jesse’s Book Tells All
7. “I Don’t Have to Do Anything, I’m a Governor” Ventura’s Talk-Radio Comeback
8. ”A Ritual Political Suicide” Shocking the World Again
9. ”I’m Proud I’m a Wrestler” The Body’s New Chyna Policy
10. ”Organized Religion Is a Sham” Playboy!
11. ”You Have Brought Shame ...” No Apologies
12. ”Blatant Political Garbage” The Reform Party Implodes While the Governor Stands Alone
13. ”10,000 Lakes and One Goofy Governor” From The Young and the Restless to the Lincoln Bedroom
14. ”This Governor Is Out of Bounds” Moonlighting with the XFL
15. September 11, 2001 Minnesota’s Commander-in-Chief Wages War on the Media