Convention Diary: Feel the love - Mia goes down a treat

 

Ann Romney talked about love – but the Love that was the real smash on Tuesday night was Mia Love, the exotic Republican candidate for Utah's fourth Congressional district.

She's 37, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, a Mormon and a mayor. She's also a mother of three and a keen supporter of gun rights.

If she wins (which is by no means guaranteed as she's in a tough race against a popular incumbent Democrat) she'd be the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. Her brief prime-time speech was terrific. Whatever else, Mitt Romney's got the Haitian-American Mormon women's vote locked up.

Remember the name though. A star may have been born.

No place for journalists and beer drinkers

Forget about rinky-dink canapes and all the booze you can use. This convention is taking place in a hockey arena (home of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning), and for ordinary Republican delegates it's hockey game fare when they leave the action in the hall.

That means hot dogs, pretzels, greasy fries and chicken tenders – minus the most important hockey fare of all, beer (maybe because Mitt Romney, as a Mormon, is a teetotaller).

And life's not much better for journalists in the arena. An internet connection costs more than $1,000, and most of the time mine didn't work (one rumour was that the Secret Service had cut it off). But should we be surprised? Republicans these days spend their time reviling the mainstream media.

All good fun unless you're a black camerawoman

Americans are a patriotic bunch, but Republican patriotism still amazes. The anthem, the colours and the pledge of allegiance are routine. But now the Obama-bashing is regularly interspersed with patriotic musical acts. On Tuesday, for instance, the Oakridge Boys, an ageing Country and Western vocal quartet, regaled us with "Amazing Grace". Then came a rapturously received "God Bless the USA" from Neal Boyd, 2008 winner of America's Got Talent. All good fun, but there's a less wholesome side to proceedings. Two attendees were ejected from the arena after throwing nuts at a black CNN camerawoman, saying: "That's how we feed the animals." It'll take more than Mia Love to boost the GOP's appeal to black voters.

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