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Ventura will not go lightly from that good spotlight

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- He may be a lame duck, but Gov. Jesse Ventura has a few splashes left to make -- some literally.

Next month, Ventura plans to ride the length of the Mississippi on a personal watercraft, promoting Minnesota as he goes.

In the fall, he hopes to go on a trip to Cuba. He just returned from a trade mission to China, but, because Cuba doesn't have diplomatic relations with the United States, the trip there will be less formal.

He'll also continue to use his weekly radio program to zing the reporters who cover him and the major party candidates who want to replace him.

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In short, he plans to enjoy himself.

"I feel very much like Dr. Martin Luther King, when he said 'Great God almighty, free at last,'" Ventura told Twin Cities Public Television in an interview.

As for his future beyond next January, however, he's not talking.

Politics is out. He's ruled out a run for the White House, and vows not to get involved in state politics even to push such pet policy changes such as shrinking the Legislature from two chambers to one. "It'll never happen," he said of that plan.

He emphasizes that he'll be seeking his fortune in the private sector, but won't give specifics. Agents with the William Morris Agency are "fielding any and all offers," but he won't say whether he's inked any deals.

"Fortunately, it's called private, so I don't have to talk about it if I don't want to," he said.

One project, a planned musical based on Ventura's life, has already been scrapped. Drafts of "The Body Ventura," never satisfied the real Ventura, producer Pierre Cossette told Variety after the announcement.

It's not difficult to guess the direction Ventura will head. He's talked often in the past of plans to return to the airwaves.

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Before his 1998 election, Ventura was known to some Minnesota voters as much as for his morning radio show as for his antics in the wrestling ring.

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