TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney was the star of the show this week, but at times the Huffington Post Oasis seemed to receive almost as much press coverage.
During slow news times, and there were plenty of them, reporters tried their hands at a quintessential touchy-feely story.
The Oasis invited visitors to "unplug and recharge during the Republican National Convention." That’s not easy for some Republicans and a fair number of political reporters.
Uptight scribes and intense convention delegates alike loosened their ties and tried a massage, and a little yoga, too. Some jumped right in. Others lingered on the edges of the action like trench-coaters at a peep show.
With information on healthy eating – not exactly a priority for many journalists – and meditation, the Oasis appeared to draw the curious as well as the spiritually centered.
For some reason, I can’t get the image of Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich on a yoga mat out of my mind.
But something was missing: a candidate endorsement.
It’s too bad Huffington failed to persuade the GOP presidential nominee to cut a brief voice-over that said, "I’m Mitt Romney, and I approve this massage."
TRUMP-GRUMP: Not everyone decided to chill out with the HuffPo hipsters. Failed GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who has had a running feud with the media company’s boss, Arianna Huffington, and is still fuming over the unflattering coverage he has received, hurled a blistering jab via Twitter that was mean even by the foul-mouthed real estate/TV star’s standards.
He wrote that Huffington is "unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision."
Huffington, whose split with husband Michael Huffington has been described as amicable, responded, "We’ve always wondered what’s under the bottom of the barrel. Please report."
Some strains not even a good neck rub can mend.
DIAMOND CELEBRATION: While most of the estimated 50,000 people who attended the convention were content to buy a Romney-Ryan button or T-shirt as a souvenir this week, Reagan Rada of the New York jeweler Piranesi offered something for the discriminating elephant-lover: a pachyderm-shaped, 24-carat ruby and diamond necklace priced at $70,000. It was part of a Piranesi special collection worth $4.5 million and on display at Saks Fifth Avenue in Tampa.
Although the necklace, which also can be worn as a brooch, received raves earlier in the week when it was worn at the convention by an unnamed Republican Party supporter, as of early Thursday afternoon it remained for sale.
When I asked Rada whether Piranesi planned to offer a diamond donkey in Charlotte, N.C. during the upcoming Democratic National Convention, he laughed a little.
"Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough time to create one for the Democratic convention," Rada said, adding that the company’s one-of-a-kind designs are actually apolitical.
"There’s no personal issue here," he said.
NEWT U.: Americans who didn’t get enough of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s professorial approach to the presidential race in recent months could have taken advantage of the "Newt U" seminars he held throughout convention week. The final lesson was titled, "We Believe in America – We Don’t Believe in Obamacare."
It was open to party officials and credentialed media, but not the uninsured.
PAUL POETRY: A group of diehard Ron Paul supporters gathered early in the week on the convention floor to protest what they believed was a lack of respect for their patron saint of Republican libertarianism. They stood under a banner that read, "We Can Do Better."
After the distracting antics Paul delegates displayed during Romney’s coronation, I was left wondering whether that banner ought to have read, "We Can Do Bitter."
John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Email him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.