Is this the house Sarah Palin would stay in if she makes a last-minute appearance in Tampa? The rumour was tantalizing, so we checked it out.
Sarah Palin is not in Tampa, but the former governor of Alaska still exerts a seemingly hypnotic pull on Republicans and Democrats alike. And whether she inspires you or enrages you, people can't quite bring themselves to believe that the Republican convention will be a Palin-free event.
Witness a conversation we had with two longtime residents of Davis Islands, an affluent neighbourhood south of downtown. One Democrat and one independent, they eagerly shared the news that Ms. Palin had rented a massive home nearby. One swore that a friend, a neighbour living across the canal, had even seen Ms. Palin there.
The house is certainly grand enough: 8,500 square feet, Honduran wood floors, huge pool, private dock, and waterfront views in every direction. (And it can be yours for just $6.5-million (U.S.)).
When your correspondent rang the doorbell, a blond woman in workout gear answered the door. No, Ms. Palin was not there. No, she hadn't been there. No, she wasn't coming. With that, the woman shut the door.
So we talked with Jeanne Wolf, the real-estate agent who represents the owners of the house. She said the home was rented for the week of the convention (price tag: $25,000) by a well-known Washington, D.C. lobbying firm that she declined to name.
Ms. Wolf said that she, too, had heard the rumours about Ms. Palin and suggested a possible source. "It's the best house out there without a doubt," said Ms. Wolf. "And they think she has good taste."