Convention Confidential

UPDATED 07/30/2004 at 09:30 AM EDT Originally published 07/26/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT

Convention Confidential
P. Diddy, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck
Rebecca Sapp/WireImage

Diddy

Diddy

The Democratic National Convention continues in Boston, and PEOPLE is there, following the power players and stars.

POLITICAL DIDDY: How passionate is Sean "P. Diddy" Combs about his new role as founder of the fledgling voter motivator group, Citizen Change? Passionate enough to interrupt a vacation in Saint-Tropez to come work the halls of the Democratic National Convention. And his reception? As Combs tells PEOPLE: "I knew I was definitely going to add some flavor to the situation, you know what I'm saying? I can relate to all people, you know? I understand politicians, Democrats, Republicans, Green Party. Whatever crew you want to be down with, you know, I understand that. You all got your own entourages and gangs, too." Among Diddy's duties on Thursday was to talk to young voters (including those at the Divine Styler barbershop in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, though he didn't get a trim); be interviewed by Tom Brokaw; and meet with the Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Senate candidate Barak Obama, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, OutKast's Andre 3000 and Ben Affleck. As for any political aspiration on his own part, Combs says: "I don't never want to run for office."

ANDRE ADVISES: Also prowling the halls Thursday was Andre 3000, who, in a dapper white pinstriped shirt with green buttons, matching red, white and black plaid vest and pants, a red patterned bow-tie and a straw hat, had some fashion advice for John Kerry: Wear double-breasted jackets with pique lapels. And, the Declare Yourself volunteer added, get a hobby, like Clinton's saxophone playing. When he learned that Kerry plays guitar, Andre 3000 exclaimed, "Really! If he's a guitar player, he's good to go!"

WILLIE WORKS: Not all the musicians at the convention are rappers. Willie Nelson's midday rehearsal of "Living in the Promised Land" drew a crowd of appreciative onlookers on the convention hall floor. After practicing the song several times, Nelson signed autographs for members of his backup chorus.

ROXY CROWD: Spotted at The Roxy, rocking into the wee hours: Alyssa Milano singing with LL Cool J as he performed "Mama Said Knock You Out."? Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck, both in suits and sporting Kerry pins. ? Affleck chatting with U.S. Senate candidateBarak Obama ? The crowd chanting "Catie! Catie! Catie!" when vice presidential nominee John Edwards, wife Elizabeth Edwards and daughter Cate made a brief appearance onstage around 1:30 a.m. ? A dressed-downChris Heinz , saying his stepfather's acceptance speech "was fun to watch," then hanging out in the VIP balcony ? And a dressed-up Andre Heinz making a beeline for his little brother.

SISTER ACT: Alexandra and Vanessa Kerry told PEOPLE that they wrote their own convention speeches, though Vanessa did run some of it by Dad first. "Was he okay with that?" Alexandra asked Vanessa about a story she would be telling. Vanessa chided, "No, but I'm sharing it anyway." In her defense, Alexandra confessed, "That was my own insecurity of, 'Oh God, I didn't check my story out.'" They also speculated on whether they would move to Washington should their father be elected. Probably not, they figured, quoting one of their stepbrothers, who said: "I don't think it's ever cool to move back home when you're 30."

• By ANNE DRISCOLL, LISA INGRASSIA, MACON MOREHOUSE and SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL

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