Elton John helps raise money for Gore
ATHERTON, Calif. (Reuters) - Flamboyant rock star Elton John, making his first foray into American politics after three decades of performing in the United States, endorsed Vice President Al Gore at a ritzy Silicon Valley fund-raiser.
John, the entertainer at a $10,000-a-plate dinner Tuesday, began his set with "Your Song." But before his next number, he showed his political stripes to the business leaders of America's technological mecca.
"I've never done a political fund-raiser before, and I'm an English man who has been coming to America for 30 years," John told the 320 guests, who included actors Robin Williams and Sharon Stone as well as a slew of high-tech executives.
"America has been extremely good to me. Hundreds of friends live here," John said, alone on stage with his piano. "I'm a great believer in the vice president. ... His views completely coincide with mine."
He made clear, on the other hand, that he "did not want this country to have to live under George W. Bush."
"The vice president ... wants this country to go forward, and if you vote for him, it will go forward," John said. "But it's back to the Dark Ages, I'm afraid, if you vote for the other guy."
Wearing a knee-length black brocade jacket, the 53-year-old musician said there was only one condition to his endorsement: Gore had to wear that jacket at his inauguration.
"I think you're going to win it, baby," John predicted before resuming an hourlong performance that had the Democratic presidential candidate and his wife dancing to such hits as "Daniel," "Candle in the Wind" and "Rocket Man."
The fund-raiser, at the home of Novell Corp. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, raised $3.25 million for the Democratic National Committee.
Before John's performance, Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr thanked Gore for his role in securing a landmark trade agreement with China.
The pact, which affords China the same trading relationship with the United States that most other nations enjoy, passed its last congressional hurdle Tuesday.
"Thank you very much for delivering that for us," Doerr told the vice president.
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