Foreign politicians have flocked to the Democratic convention to marvel at the spectacle and find out what a win for the party in November's presidential elections would mean for their countries.
"Don't be misled by the razzmatazz. There's a lot of work being done underneath," said Michael Douglas, leader of the opposition Labor Party from the Caribbean island of Dominica.Some 300 foreign visitors invited to Atlanta by the Democratic Party are anxious to discover how presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, a foreign policy novice, would behave in the White House.
Having paid their own fares and hotel bills, they are also keen to use daily seminars and countless parties to make contact with key staff in the Dukakis camp and in Congress.
"I've got an interesting pile of visiting cards from Congress, from the state organizations," said Ousmane Ngom, parliamentary leader of the opposition Senegali Democratic Party.
"We are having our own democratic experiment in Senegal and it's always good to come and see the lighthouse of democracy and see how it works," he added.
Former Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez, leader of the Social and Democratic Center, is one of many at his first U.S. political convention, which is held once very four years to pick a presidential candidate and fix the election platform.
"It's an extraordinary mixture of spectacle and hard work. It's so different from Europe, where parties are less flexible and more disciplined. It's a reflection of American political behavior - all directed to television," he said.