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. . . .