Iowa gov. leaves hospital after choking on carrot

Jul 4, 2012, 11:18 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad was briefly hospitalized Wednesday in Los Angeles after choking on food during a ceremony for the re-dedication of the USS Iowa battleship, his spokesman said.

Branstad choked on a carrot during the event and vomited, spokesman Tim Albrecht said. He said the governor was taken to a nearby hospital “out of an overabundance of caution,” went through a series of tests and was released after his health turned out to be fine.

“We’re glad he’s okay. He’s in great spirits,” Albrecht said. “He’s probably a little more embarrassed than anything.”

Branstad, 65, traveled with his wife and a security detail to the event for the USS Iowa, a World War II-era warship that is being turned into a floating museum that opens Saturday at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Republican governor was elected to his fifth term in 2010, and previously served from 1982 to 1998.

Branstad was among several politicians at Wednesday’s event, including Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. They were joined by hundreds of veterans and former USS Iowa crew members as well as a great-granddaughter of President Franklin Roosevelt.

One of the most powerful battleships of all time, the ship saw action in World War II and the Korean War. The Navy awarded the ship to a nonprofit group to display as an interactive naval museum that will highlight its place in American history.

After the ceremony, Albrecht said Branstad had planned to meet with an uncle who lives in the area and watch fireworks. He said Branstad was planning to return to Iowa on Thursday night.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Iowa gov. leaves hospital after choking on carrot