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Governor of Iowa Has a Message for Murray: Hawkeyes Will Be Back

January 15, 1986|Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Terry Branstad used an otherwise serious Condition of the State Message Tuesday to take a poke at columnist Jim Murray, who ridiculed the state following the University of Iowa's loss in the Rose Bowl.

"Before I begin, join with me in sending a message to a guy named Jim Murray with the Los Angeles Times," Branstad told a joint session of the Iowa Legislature. "Jim, we're proud to be Iowans, and though we lost a football game on New Year's Day, we're tough and we're coming back."

The comments drew chuckles and loud applause from the state legislators.

Branstad's salvo was the latest in a verbal battle that began with Iowa's 45-28 loss to UCLA in the Rose Bowl. After that game, Murray poked fun at the football team and Iowans in general.

Murray wrote: "I mean, you're going to have to start covering your eyes when these guys come to town in the family Winnebago with their pacemakers and the chicken salad. . . . These people are the salt of the earth. They feed the world. They just can't play football. . . .

"Down Home America ain't what it's cracked up to be anymore. River City better wise up."

When the column was reprinted in Iowa, many Hawkeye fans were outraged, and one radio station offered to pay Murray's way to Iowa to explain his views.

Murray has declined, saying he was too busy and didn't want to be "paraded down Main Street in a cage."

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