WASHINGTON (AP) - The presidential campaign is taking a brief detour from conflict and finger-pointing so President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney can play politics for laughs.

The rivals are quieting the hostilities Thursday evening to address the venerable Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a white-tie gala at New York City's Waldorf Astoria Hotel that has been a required stop for politicians since the end of World War II.

In keeping with tradition, both candidates have prepared lighthearted fare for the fundraising event organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York for the benefit of needy children.

The dinner comes in the wake of a fiery and confrontational debate between Romney and Obama on Tuesday, lending an air of drama to the pivot from acrimony to humor.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.