updated 2/3/2010 8:03:15 PM ET 2010-02-04T01:03:15

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says Florida is "for the old people" and that no one wants to take a vacation in Iowa.

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The Republican governor on Tuesday told a Silicon Valley conference on infrastructure that in comparison, his state has a reputation as a destination.

"No matter where you go in the world, people still want to come to California," Schwarzenegger said. "There's no one screaming like, 'I can't wait to get to Iowa.' That I can guarantee you. They want to come here to California."

He also said that California's economic diversity can be seen in Hollywood, technology startups, tourism and agriculture, whereas many states are noted for just one attribute.

"Like one state is known for its potatoes; one state is known for its oil," Schwarzenegger said at the Next American Economy conference, which was hosted by The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program and Lazard investment bank. "And another state like Florida is known for the old people."

The governor said California's problems, such as its ongoing budget deficits, can be blamed on issues of governance, which is why he's pushing for reforms.

A spokesman for Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, Troy Price, said Iowa's balanced budget and improvements in the quality of life in the last few years were a contrast to California's deep budget problems. He added, "We invite Californians and Gov. Schwarzenegger to come to Iowa and see what the best state in the nation has to offer."

Schwarzenegger, who regularly promotes California by saying it's the greatest state in the nation, has a history of picking on other states. Last month, he urged California's congressional delegation to vote against a national health care proposal because he believed Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson scored a "sweetheart deal" in trading his vote for expanded Medicaid support in his state.

"That senator got for the Cornhusker State the corn, and we got the husk," Schwarzenegger said during his Jan. 6 State of the State speech.

Nelson defended his move, saying he held back his vote on health care legislation so Nebraska and other states would not be saddled by unfunded Medicaid liabilities.

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