Turner 'aims to rule US'

IF TED TURNER, the founder of the CNN network and nemesis of Rupert Murdoch, had been in the White House at the weekend in place of Bill Clinton, what would he have done about Iraq? A bombing campaign would have been terrific for ratings. But he and wife, Jane Fonda, love peace and hate violence.

Why even ask the question? Because yesterday we learnt that Mr Turner recently declared himself "very serious" about running to be the next US president. He has just one problem: Jane is not keen.

He revealed his unexpected yearning, according to The New Yorker yesterday, at a meeting of something called the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation on 6 November in California, where he was given a "world citizen's award" - earned, one assumes, partly because of his promise to give $1bn to the UN. "I'm very serious about running for president, but Jane doesn't want me to do it," Mr Turner said. Ms Fonda later told the audience, however, that she would never stand in the way of anything her husband tried to do. "Where Ted goes, I go," she insisted.

But to the White House? The notion is not altogether dotty. After all, Mr Turner has some vital assets. He has money. Lots of it. In 1996, he sold his CNN network to Time Warner, in which he now has a 11 per cent stake. And he has populist charisma, too.

But there would be impediments. Conservatives would surely balk at the prospect of Ms Fonda as First Lady. And what would Mr Turner do once in power? At the dinner he offered this view of why America still has nuclear weapons. They are there, he said, to "stop the starving masses" invading the US - for instance, from Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Uh-huh.

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