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"[Jesse] Ventura is more candid than 99% of pols."
TIME, December 27, 1999

Cursor research finds Ventura
not as candid about his navy SEAL
past as his spokesman claims

by Cursor Staff
POSTED DECEMBER 21, 1999--After ex-Navy SEAL officer Bill Salisbury challenged Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's SEAL credentials in a December 2nd cover story in the San Diego Reader, available online at  http://www.cursor.org/, the Governor's office confirmed that Ventura had been a member of an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT), and not an elite Navy SEAL. But, they argued that because the two entities merged under the SEAL banner in 1983, UDT's can now refer to themselves as SEALs, even though in Ventura's case, his active military service ended ten years before the merger occurred--not unlike a former American Football League player saying that he had   played in the NFL because the two leagues are now merged into one. Another defense of the Governor was offered by spokesman John Wodele. In a December 14th interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Wodele assured listeners that Ventura never tries to mislead reporters  or the public, and that he's careful to equivocate whenever referring to himself as a SEAL.

MPR: Ventura's spokesman, John Wodele, confirms Ventura was in the UDT's, and he says  the Governor has never tried to convince people otherwise.

Wodele: If you travel with the governor and spend any amount of time with him, he is very forthcoming and accurate in terms of his relationship with the United States Navy. He talks about the fact that he was in the Underwater Demolition Team. In fact, he has corrected me in the past.

Cursor extensively researched what the Governor has said on the record about his Navy SEAL past, and found that Wodele may be the only person he has ever corrected. In print articles and broadcast appearances, Ventura lets interviewers refer to him as a Navy SEAL,  or an ex-Navy SEAL--which they routinely do--without correcting them. He also consistently refers to himself as a SEAL, without explaining the distinctions between SEALs and UDTs. Nowhere in the complete text or transcipts of the following articles, interviews, or television and radio programs, are the words Underwater Demolition Team, or the acronym UDT, ever mentioned.

Navy SEAL, union member, volunteer high school football coach, outdoorsman, husband of 23 years, father of two.
Ventura Campaign Ad

I'm a warrior at heart. I'm an ex-Navy SEAL.
The New York Times, October 31, 1998

And Mr. [Hulk] Hogan, I mean he wants to be me, anyway. He always--you know, he pretends to be a Navy SEAL; I was one.
Meet the Press, November 8, 1998

You know, I come from a little bit of a military background earlier in my life and we were always taught in the Navy SEAL team never to assume.
CNN Inside Politics, November 12, 1998

High Times: Was your wrestling career fun?
Ventura: It was exciting. And for me, an ex-Navy Seal, it was fun.
High Times, November, 1998

Ventura: I've been a Navy SEAL.
Maria Shriver: But, a Navy SEAL makes you ready to be Governor?
Ventura: Uh-huh. Yeah. Sure it does.
Maria Shriver: Where did you come up with that?
Ventura: It's easy--because I defy--because I worked with things in being a Navy SEAL that could kill me.
NBC Dateline, December 22, 1998

I'm also excited--you know, a lot of my old Navy SEAL buddies are here to see me get sworn in today.
CBS This Morning, January 4, 1999

I'm the top law enforcement officer in the state of Minnesota. I'm also the commander-in-chief of the National Guard. I'm an ex-Navy SEAL team member.
Meet The Press, February 21, 1999

Now as a Navy SEAL, I thought "How did they know that about me -- how dangerous we truly can be?" We have a saying in the SEALs: we don't get mad, we get even.
National Press Club Speech, February 22, 1999

I'm the head of the state troopers, and the commander-in-chief of the National Guard. I'm also a former Navy SEAL.
CNN Late Edition, February 23, 1999

Tim Russert: Both your brother--your older brother and yourself, [were] Navy SEALs?
Ventura: Mm-hmm, yeah.
Tim Russert: You almost died twice, once as a Navy SEAL and once as a wrestler, with blood clots in your lungs.
Ventura: Well, I almost died more than that a couple times as a SEAL. That's only what I told about in the book.
Tim Russert Show, May 22, 1999

Last spring I rappelled down from the top of the Target Center before a Timberwolves game. But, you know, I am an ex-Navy SEAL and I was trained for you know, a full year and was very comfortable in that type of rappelling-type thing.
Larry King Live, May 24, 1999

I couldn't care less what a person's sexual orientation is, and I'm an ex-Navy SEAL.
The Advocate, May 1999

First of all, they should understand why a Navy SEAL doesn't wear underwear.
CBS This Morning , June 3, 1999

Larry King: You were a Navy SEAL?
Ventura: Yes.
Larry King: What was that like?
Ventura: Exciting. I did it at 18 years old to 22, 22-1/2. It was challenging. I would belong to no other unit The camaraderie is unbelievable.
Larry King Live, June 3, 1999

When I was a wrestler, I could pick up buildings. When I was a SEAL, I could scale them.
NPR's Fresh Air, June 3, 1999

Chris Matthews: When you were a--you were a SEAL, you must have been through amazingly scary moments with life and death.
Ventura: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Hardball with Chris Matthews at Harvard University, October 6, 1999

You're talking to an ex-Navy Seal here.
Playboy, November, 1999.

I was in the SEALs during the Vietnam War, so I experienced firsthand how we, as Americans, were affected by that conflict.
Rolling Stone, December 30, 1999

We're a proud organization. If anyone tries to pretend they're a SEAL, God help them.
Jesse Ventura Autobiography: I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

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