In 1998, former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura stunned the political world by winning the race for governor of Minnesota. As a candidate, Ventura created impressions of honesty with his straightforward, candid style; even his inaugural address was unscripted. As governor, however, Ventura came to rely on a team of speechwriters to help him meet his speaking demands. In this essay, I present an interview with one member of Ventura’s communications team, Steve LeBeau, who addresses the challenge of writing speeches for an unconventional client with a penchant for improvisation. As the essay reveals, LeBeau’s background in media and theater helped, as did a process of trial and error, through which speechwriters found ways to maintain a sense of “authentic Ventura” in the governor’s prepared remarks.
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The Art of "Jesse-Talk": Speechwriting for Governor Jesse Ventura.
Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota Journal, 37(1).