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CNN Today

Kidder: National Reform Party 'Liberated' With Disaffiliation of Jesse Ventura

Aired February 11, 2000 - 2:07 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: "A dysfunction national party." With that, Jesse Ventura, the elected governor of Minnesota, has pulled out of the national Reform Party. He said it did zero to get him elected in Minnesota in the first place. He wants to go back to what was known back then as the Independent Party of Minnesota and use that as a platform for a solid third-party movement. Whether or not there would be an Independent Party for America is still up in the air.

There is a political scientist in Minnesota at Carleton College who said that Jesse Ventura never had much interest in building the Minnesota or the national Reform Parties and he doubts whether he would have much interest in building a third party.

Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump were mentioned prominently in his news conference at the governor's mansion in Minnesota. Jesse Ventura doesn't much like Pat Buchanan, conservative former Republican now seeking the Reform nomination. Ventura has been more interested in Donald Trump, who also has expressed disgust with the national organization. Trump now is considering running for president under Ventura's new party banner, whatever that might be -- this is a developing story.

And we're going to get more information now. Donna's next -- Donna.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now by telephone from Princeton, New Jersey, Reform Party spokesman Beverly Kidder. She serves on the state party's state board of trustees and was Ross Perot's press secretary in New Jersey during his two presidential campaigns.

Beverly, I know that you probably think, as I read it, good, go, but what about the support that Ventura takes with him?

BEVERLY KIDDER, REFORM PARTY/PEROT SUPPORTER: Nationwide, Jesse didn't have that much support. He has tremendous support in the state of Minnesota, and I believe the voters there like him. But, you know, since his "Playboy" interview, since his few other statements he has made and some of the activities that have come out of Minnesota, namely trying to hijack the convention to that state, he's lost a lot of support within the party nationwide.

KELLEY: He's lost your support, because you said you used to be a Jesse fan.

KIDDER: I was a Jesse fan, I had his poster in my shop, he certainly did he a great thing for third parties, he did -- the fact that he won after getting into the debates was the biggest thing he did for any third party. And the second thing, he brought us a tremendous amount of publicity, some of it not always so good, but publicity, you know, makes you known. And the Reform movement is now so known that McCain is trying to steal it from us -- every other sentence includes the word "reform" -- and of course Bush is now a -- I think his quote was a reformer with results.

KELLEY: But what about a split party? It's so diverse to begin with. Can the Reform Party do this, and where is Ross Perot? Not hearing very much from him.

KIDDER: Ross Perot is doing what he likes to do, which is, I think, being a businessman. The other part of your question was?

KELLEY: A split party. If you have a split party when you have a diverse party to begin with, will the Reform Party stand up, and how will you go on from this?

KIDDER: Well, I think that we have been liberated with this, is my personal opinion, because the Minnesota bunch, the Ventura bunch, differed with our national platform to an extreme degree. After the battle in Seattle, Jesse came out with a paper in support of the World Trade Organization, and of course that's one of the tenets of our platform, is we are against bad trade deals that send jobs overseas. So, there was a divergence there, and I'm thinking now that he has made the statement he will get some followers that will go over to him, but my feeling is is that new people will come to us now and other people will come back that didn't like that direction the party could have gone if he stayed.

KELLEY: Reform Party spokesman Beverly Kidder, thanks for visiting with us. Appreciate it.

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