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Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 02/15/2012

Chinese officials meet wrestlers


Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid met Wednesday. (Alex Wong - Getty Images)
The delegation of Chinese officials traveling to Des Moines later Wednesday for an agricultural forum better be quick to the hotel breakfast buffet line — they’ve got some serious competition for those pancakes.

The dignitaries, including Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Chinese Agriculture Minister Han Changfu, will face a formidable challenge in the form of hundreds of high-school wrestlers, who are staying in the same hotel to attend the Iowa state tournament. The Des Moines Register noted that the city’s downtown Marriott will house the unlikely combination of high-school boys and Chinese officials.

The confluence of the agricultural symposium — which Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is hosting — and the state wrestling tourney will doubtless make for a fascinating clash of cultures.

“There was concern about how the two groups would blend together,” the hotel’s general manager told the Iowa paper.

The hotel, though, is no stranger to high-profile patrons. The brand-new bar opened just in time for the state’s caucuses, and the watering hole quickly became a hotspot for politicos and journalists.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both stayed there during the contests, and Gingrich’s wife, Callista, was spotted ringing in New Year’s eve at the bar along with some college pals.

By  |  01:20 PM ET, 02/15/2012

 
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