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News and notes from the campaign trail

COLCHESTER, Conn. --Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi spent her Sunday campaigning across Connecticut, where her party hopes to pick up three of the 15 seats they need to regain control of the U.S. House.

Pelosi said she was cautiously optimistic about the party's chances on Tuesday.

"We are thankful for where we are today, to be poised for success," Pelosi said, while campaigning for Democratic challenger Joe Courtney in the 2nd District. "But we have two Mount Everests we have to climb, they are called Monday and Tuesday."

Polls show Courtney, a former state lawmaker, about even with Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons in eastern Connecticut. State Sen. Chris Murphy has a slight lead on 12-term Republican incumbent Nancy Johnson in western Connecticut; and former Westport First Selectman Diane Farrell is about even with Republican Chris Shays for the Fairfield county seat he has held for 19 years.

Courtney said the high-profile visit helps.

"Congresswoman Pelosi brings attention and, I think, a perspective of what's happening in 2006."

Her visit also drew a response from Simmons supporters who stood outside his campaign office in Colchester while Pelosi spoke nearby.

"Her San Francisco, left-wing values are not in line with the agenda of eastern Connecticut," Simmons spokesman John Goodwin said.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman is getting some unwelcome attention on the campaign trail.

Followers of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche have been heckling the three-term incumbent at numerous events.

Three young men who were accused of disrupting a campaign stop in Hartford with an obscenity-tinged serenade on Friday posted bail over the weekend, police said.

Hans Wendlandt, 22, and Michael Kirsch, 25, both of Brookline, Mass., and Jonathan Stewart of Oakland, Calif., were charged with interfering with police, breach of peace and resisting arrest.

Myles Robinson, 23, also of Brookline, Mass., was charged with breach of peace and was released on a promise to appear in court. But he was arrested again on a breach of peace charge Sunday for heckling Lieberman during the Veterans Day parade in Hartford and posted a $25,000 bond, police said.

The young men also are accused of throwing fliers at Lieberman and his supporters while Lieberman campaigned at a Spanish market in Hartford last week.

The four protesters wanted to call attention to their belief that free speech is being suppressed on U.S. campuses, said Barbara Boyd, a spokeswoman for the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- John DeStefano, the Democratic candidate for governor, accused Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell of using the governor's mansion for fundraising, prompting an investigation.

Rell hosted a campaign meeting Sept. 18 to call for a final push for campaigning and fundraising.

DeStefano called it a fundraiser at the taxpayer-funded building that he said is wrong "for somebody who's trying to define her candidacy on this unparalleled standard of ethics."

Rell's campaign spokesman, Rich Harris, said the allegation is "absolutely baseless." The event was not a fundraiser, but was a "cheerleading session," he said.

A few dozen attended the event, which included what several who attended described as an explicit appeal by Rell for supporters to press fundraising efforts, The Hartford Courant reported Sunday. Attendees were not asked to buy tickets or give donations.

Harris acknowledged that two campaign checks were handed in by people who happened to have them at the event.

DeStefano's campaign questioned the legality of Rell's event in a memo to Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. The attorney general interpreted it as a whistleblower complaint and sent it Friday to the state auditors.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Democrat Ned Lamont is getting a little help from Texas in his bid to unseat Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Jim Goodnow, with a "Bring Them Home Now" message painted in big blue letters on the side of his 40-foot Silver Eagle bus, has driven through 28 states in 13 months. He was in Connecticut Saturday.

Goodnow, 67, wanted to spend the final days of the midterm election campaign in Connecticut where the Lieberman-Lamont campaign "has created a vortex" of anti-war energy, he said.

Goodnow, of Terlingua, Texas, wanted to make sure his 26,000-pound billboard was around to energize Lamont voters.

"I am a Texan, but I believe George Bush has deceived us and lied to us in order to carry out an illegal and unjust war," said Goodnow, a member of the anti-war group, Veterans for Peace.

Goodnow occasionally pulls over and collects signatures calling for the impeachment of the president.

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