ST. PAUL -- Two of the state's most powerful men declared a temporary truce Wednesday in their often testy battle over funding for the University of Minnesota.
Gov. Jesse Ventura and university President Mark Yudof shared a stage -- and cordial words -- while marking the school's 150th birthday, neither dwelling on the budget fight that has had them butting heads for a month.
"Mark, how are you? Good to see you," Ventura said upon entering the Capitol Rotunda for the 45-minute ceremony. Yudof returned the greeting and patted Ventura on the shoulder.
"He was on his best gentlemanly behavior and so was I," Yudof said.
The event featured a university choir and occurred under the watchful eye of musket-carrying members of Civil War-style military regimen.
"The guns are not loaded," Yudof duly noted.
But it was the first face-to-face meeting of the two leaders since Ventura released his budget that fulfills only about a quarter of the university's $221 million request for new spending. Since Jan. 23, Yudof and Ventura have been trading barbs in the media over the proposal.
Yudof didn't bring up the budget squabble in his remarks, and Ventura gave it only a glancing reference.
"If you believed everything you read in the newspapers these days you'd probably think I don't care about the University of Minnesota. If you believe that, you're wrong," he said, explaining that he only holds a different vision than others.
Ventura proclaimed Friday to be maroon-and-gold day, encouraging all Minnesotans to don the school colors.
House Speaker Steve Sviggum, who was also on the podium, sensed awkwardness between Yudof and Ventura. But Sviggum, R-Kenyon, said the get-together couldn't have come at a better time.
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