Convention Diary: Party swims with the sharks

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The Independent US

If the turtles, groupers, rays and alligators that inhabit the Tampa Aquarium woke up with a hangover yesterday you can't blame them. On Monday night, the fish tank galleries were packed with convention VIPs invited to drink considerable volumes of booze as guests of the American drinks industry. Those spotted enjoying the liquid networking included David Corn, the distinctively un-conservative writer at Mother Jones, and Fred Karger who tried earlier this year to run as America's first gay presidential candidate. The night turned distinctly Austin Powers when two scantily attired mermaids dived into a tank to frolic with shoals of shimmering fish.

Question time, American style

We were not happy campers at the end of Politics and Pints, a party hosted by The Washington Post at Stumps Supper Club, where guests were invited to play a political trivia quiz hosted by the Post writer Chris Cillizza. Which party chose Roseanne Barr as their presidential candidate? When did Wisconsin last vote Republican in a presidential election? (Greens, 1984). How could we compete with folks like Chuck Todd, political editor of NBC? It is not our pleasure to reveal that the contest was won by young reporters from a competing British newspaper.

Romney and sons keep it in the family

There's no question who's got the toughest task in Tampa: a reporter trying to extract the slightest indiscretion about dad from Mitt Romney's five impossibly perfect sons. Tagg is 42, Matt 40, Josh 37, Ben 34 and Craig 31, but none looks a day over 25. They're all Brooks Brothers-handsome and preppy, so alike they could be interchangeable. They have dazzling white teeth. They don't smoke, they don't drink, they worship their father, and they always say exactly the right thing. Every interviewer in town had a go, begging for the tiniest unflattering detail about Mitt. But no one's even got close.