You may think the verbal smackdowns and choke-slams of this early campaign season were unusually heated, but a day may come when all of us may look back on 2004 as the Age of Innocence.

As The Boston Herald’s Elisabeth J. Beardsley reported yesterday, Jesse Ventura is “setting up for 2008.” That’s the 2008 presidential campaign.

For reasons we at Campaign Desk are hard-pressed to understand, nobody else ran with this news. (Could she have been the only one on the scene?)

And none of this Veepstakes speculation for Jesse. He’s already got a running mate: Charles Barkley, the ex-NBA star who gained headlines in 1991 for spitting on a fan.

We can sympathize with the dilemma Beardsley must have faced in choosing her lede. Although the Ventura announcement was a scoop in and of itself, she also drops another bombshell: The former pro-wrester-turned-Minnesota-governor visited the Massachusetts statehouse to lobby lawmakers on behalf of gay marriage.

What she doesn’t explain is why Ventura is in Massachusetts in the first place. Turns out, he’s a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, teaching a course called “Body Slamming the Political Establishment: Third Party Politics.” (2008 may turn out to be very interesting).

S.Q.S.

Update, 4:54 p.m.: The above post has been updated to explain why Ventura is in Massachusetts.

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Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.