Clinton McCain drinking contest

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Gatehouse: The cobbled streets of Tallinn's walled old town. It's a weekday evening and the place is hardly heaving, but it is picturesque and there are plenty of little pavement cafes and bars and restaurants that are pulling in the punters. And I reckon that an event of this magnitude and significance, even if it was four years ago, well... Someone's got to know something.

Waitress: No, I haven't heard about it. D'you know the name of the bar?
Gatehouse: This is what I'm trying to find out�
Waitress: Maybe it is some secret..?

Gatehouse: Somebody pointed me toward Molly Malone's Irish Bar. It seemed like a highly unlikely venue to me, but worth a try...

Johan: �I've heard they had like a drinking match or something.. �
Gatehouse: ah... finally...

Gatehouse: Inside I found Johan, an off duty barman, sipping an apple vodka with lime and ginger ale.

Johan, the barman had heard something...Johan, the barman had heard something...

Johan: �I just heard that at the end of the day John McCain said about Hillary Clinton, like, she can really hold her drink.
Gatehouse: do you know where this happened?
Johan: It was in one of the restaurants, I'm not sure though...

Gatehouse: It was becoming clear that I wasn't going to find what I was looking for by methodically trawling the many bars and restaurants of Tallinn. So, I headed to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The Minister, Mr Johan Parts, was Prime Minister at the time.

Parts: I had a more like working meeting with them, we drink some coffee and tasted some Estonian sweets, you know.
Gatehouse: no vodka?
Parts: No vodka. Sweets � (laughs)
Gatehouse: definitely no vodka?
Parts: No, no no, absolutely. If there was something like vodka drinking in the huge capacity, if there was something like this, it was definitely after their meeting with me, because I think they were very fresh and very concentrated on the real topics.

Gatehouse: Just opposite the ministry for Economic Affairs there's a restaurant called Gloria's. Now I've heard this name mentioned - even before I came out - as a possible venue for a senatorial drinking contest. I did send them an email, they said they couldn't provide me with any details at all. But since then I've heard Gloria's mentioned again and again. So I think it's time to pay them a visit.

A restaurant called 'Gloria'A restaurant called 'Gloria'

Well, I must say, this place is extremely plush. I've been shown into a little curtained off booth, which has got Chinese vases and lanterns, and a table set for two, while I wait for the owner, Dmitry Demyanov. When I was finally summoned to see him, Mr Demyanov was friendly, but firm

Demyanov: "I don't give any information about my big customers... "Demyanov: "I don't give any information about my big customers... "

Gatehouse: Sure -- If I just ask you a series of very simple questions, you could give me a yes or no answer. So in August 2004, did John McCain and Hillary Clinton have dinner in your restaurant?
Demyanov: Yes.
Gatehouse: Was there any vodka drunk?
Demyanov: Yes.
Gatehouse: How much?
Demyanov: I not remember.
Gatehouse: I'm looking at you and I think you do remember. One or two shots?
Demyanov: No. Four shots.
Gatehouse: Four shots each?
Demyanov: Maybe.
Gatehouse: Who drank more? The question is, who won?
Demyanov: (laughs).. Hillary won.
Gatehouse: When you say Hillary won, what do you mean?
Demyanov: She stay in correct, err... after four shots.
Gatehouse: She was still standing after four shots?
Demyanov: Yes.
Gatehouse: And John McCain?
Demyanov: (long pause)...... John McCain too.
Gatehouse: Was John McCain... did he get drunk?
Demyanov: (laughs) No comment.

Demyanov: "So there you have it. Hillary Clinton, four shots and still standing. And four years on, still fighting to be President. And John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee: four shots, and, well, you be the judge."

For The World, I'm Gabriel Gatehouse in Tallinn, Estonia.