Convention Diary

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The Independent US

* Assorted celebrities penetrated the Pepsi Centre for the dramas of Wednesday night including two African-American stars anxious to show their solidarity for Barack Obama, the rapper Kanye West and the actor Jamie Foxx. An invitation-only concert with West culminated with Foxx climbing on stage for a rap duet. Elsewhere in town, a luncheon for the Democratic Party featured two film stars with a long history of supporting liberal causes – Annette Bening and Susan Sarandon. And for those wondering how Ben Affleck's celebrity poker tournament turned out, it went on until 4am and he came out as the overall winner among no fewer than 100 players. Bravo Ben.

* Music is always key when it comes to keeping a convention crowd fired up. The proceedings, after all, can seem to last for ever. Melissa Etheridge appeared live on Wednesday to play a medley of songs. Then there was the band beside the podium who filled pauses between speeches with the likes of "Chain of Fools", by Aretha Franklin. For a moment there we though they were singing Cheney of Fools but we couldn't be sure. But it was the rendition of the Fleetwood Mac hit "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow", as Bill Clinton took to the stage, that caused the largest number of smiles. Those with long memories recognised it as the theme song to the Clinton-Gore campaign of 1992. Yet all these years later, the song remained awfully appropriate. The next line in the chorus, after all, is "Yesterday's gone".

* Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's Ambassador to the US, needs to work a bit harder explaining the importance of the "Special Relationship" to Americans, especially doormen. There he was, eager to get into CNN's hospitality headquarters on Wednesday evening just after Barack Obama appeared on stage. But the doorman was having none of it. Sir Nigel turned on his heel and headed into the night. "Don't you know who that is?" Qubad Talabani, the representative of Iraqi Kurdistan, asked the doorman. A shrug of his shoulders revealed all there is to know about the clout of the special relationship outside Washington's beltway.

* It was all she needed. After a day that had seen Hillary Clinton taking to the floor of the convention hall to urge delegates to name Mr Obama as the party's presidential nominee, she had one more indignity to suffer. Upon leaving the centre, the lift got stuck between floors. After several minutes, the doors were forced open and Mrs Clinton had to squeeze through a narrow gap. She was unhurt but a tad ruffled.

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