%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ Charlton Heston joked about his Oscar-winning ``Ben-Hur'' role during a Republican breakfast fund-raiser.

Heston, who recently announced that he has symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease, said his chariot-driving teacher in Italy told him to just ``stay in the chariot, I'll guarantee you're going to win the ... race.

``And I did,'' the 78-year-old actor and conservative activist said Friday.

Walking slowly but unassisted to the podium, Heston spoke softly but emphasized his punch lines. He spoke only for a few minutes, reading from a file card when talking about the Alabama campaign.

Heston was last in Mobile in 1996, campaigning for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, who's running for re-election against Democrat Susan Parker.

Sessions told Heston, ``You have won the real race of life. You did not choose to sit on the sidelines and watch it.''

The $100-a-plate breakfast drew 250 people, with funds going to the Alabama Republican Party.