LAST CALL: Ventura wrestles with new criticism

Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is at it again. The former

wrestler-turned-state chief executive recently snarled at a radio show

caller who questioned his decision to go to California for a movie cameo

role when the state was trying to cajole Major League Baseball into

keeping the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. He then snapped at another

caller who questioned his leadership skills.

Minnesota has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Ventura has to

find ways to close a projected $1.95 billion state budget

shortfall. Apparently, it's putting him on edge.

His shoot-from-the-hip style once appealed to voters, but that seems to

have changed.

He has to decide whether to seek reelection this year in the face of a

recent poll that found the number of voters rating his performance as

"poor" rising to 21% at the end of last year, from 8% a year ago, and

those saying they wouldn't reelect him climbing from 36% to 56%.

Still Ventura-backers aren't counting him out. His press spokesman told

the Star-Tribune, "The governor can turn this around on a dime." Maybe

he'll just go back to attacking the press instead of individual voters.

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