Notes and Quotes From Campaign 2004

Tony Bennett crooned his hopes for the presidential race, singing "The Best is Yet to Come" at a $3 million fund-raiser for Democrat John Kerry.

Other famous donors at the Thursday night event included actors Sean Astin, Angelica Huston and June Lockhart.

"Don't think of this as a fund-raiser," Kerry told the crowd. "Think of it as my Hollywood audition for '(The) West Wing.'"

Since Kerry is now accepting public financing for his campaign, the money will go to the Democratic National Committee's presidential campaign fund.

Kerry told the crowd he had thanked California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer after she said she was thrilled to be with such an articulate Renaissance man who looks so great over 60.

"She said, 'No, I was talking about Tony Bennett.'"

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They're both Democrats who ran for president, they're both from Massachusetts, and they both have the initials JFK, so sometimes people get confused.

Monica Vollmuth, a nurse introducing John Kerry at a health care event in Anoka, Minn., on Thursday twice called him John Kennedy. The crowd laughed at her, but Kerry said she's not the only one who has made the mistake -- Kennedy's brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy, did the same thing once.

"If it can happen to Ted, you're entitled to do it whenever you want," Kerry told her.

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The American Kennel Club Rewards Visa Card commissioned a poll of 1,000 likely voters, nearly half of them dog owners, to see how the candidates would fare with the dogs.

39 -- Percent of respondents who said the Bush administration would be better for the happiness of their dogs.

38 -- Percent who chose a John Kerry administration.

45_ Percent who would trust Bush more to walk their dog.

40 -- Percent who chose Kerry.

(Source: AKC Rewards Card. Survey of 1,000 adults taken Aug. 23-24, with an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.)

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"Do you waffle on the issues? Are you telling the truth on Vietnam?" -- A self-identified undecided voter asking Kerry to respond to his chief criticisms at a town hall meeting Thursday in Anoka, Minn.

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Vice President Al Gore's campaign cautiously welcomed his post-convention surge in the polls, while Texas Gov. George W. Bush went on the defensive in what had become a nearly dead-even race heading into the Labor Day weekend.

Gore also got good news from Attorney General Janet Reno, who refused to have an outside counsel investigate him over 1996 campaign fund-raising.

Republicans, fearing a backlash from a public weary of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, abruptly nixed plans to air a television ad questioning Gore's and President Clinton's truthfulness.

Bush touted his $1.3 trillion tax cut plan during campaign stops in Florida and Louisiana while criticizing Gore's $500 billion proposal.

Gore and running mate Sen. Joe Lieberman also campaigned in Florida, looking to garner the state's crucial 25 electoral prize.

Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, on a fund-raising swing in California, shrugged off a state poll that showed him with single digits.

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Associated Press writers Nedra Pickler and Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.