ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

In Washington, Ralph Nader and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean debate at 2:00 pm ET. In a different kind of drinking game, Nader has asked his supporters to donate $5 each time Dean uses one of ten phrases, including "Florida 2000." NPR is hosting the debate, so while you're tuned-in listen-up for Enright and Kofinis' latest handiwork. The Nader Factor starts airing radio ads today in key Nader-lovin' markets. LINK

The Nader-Camejo campaign filed 11,348 signatures with the election officials in Nevada, nominating him as an independent candidate for president. A thousand valid signatures are needed for the pair to qualify for the Nevada ballot. From here, the Clark County registrar's office will get a raw count -- and then kick them up to the Secretary of State's office, probably today.

Nader got 2.46 percent of the vote in Nevada in 2000 when he ran as Green Party candidate. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, "His 15,008 votes fell within the 21,597 margin of difference between the winner, Bush, and Democrat Gore."

Nader spokesguy Kevin Zeese tells the Las Vegas Review Journal he is confident Nader will be on the ballot in 46 states, most of which have deadlines to qualify between now and October. LINK

An AP-Ipsos poll finds Nader's national support at 3 percent. LINK

The politics of same-sex marriage:

"The Senate prepared to plunge Friday into an election-year fight over a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, with intense political and procedural gamesmanship surrounding a proposal that few expect to pass," writes the New York Times' Carl Hulse. LINK

The Washington Post's Chuck Babington and Helen Dewar report "after proceeding cautiously for weeks, the Republican-led Congress is moving full-speed on proposals to bar same-sex marriage even though leaders in both houses acknowledge they lack the votes to pass them." LINK

The halt to same-sex unions remains as the New Mexico Supreme Court denied the request of the Sandoval County Clerk to remove a temporary restraining order blocking her from issuing marriage licenses. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

Gannett News reports Democrats predict John Edwards will help them beyond the presidential race by appealing to swing voters in Senate races in states where John Kerry is not popular. LINK

Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger took himself out of consideration to replace Jack Ryan as the GOP nominee for Senate, citing money as the main issue, and Notes that Ryan has yet to file a request with state election officials to take his name off the ballot. The state party continues to vet candidates, party chair Judy Baar Topinka said. LINK

The Chicago Sun-Times' Scott Fornek calls it another "body blow" for the Illinois Republican Party. LINK

Lynn Sweet and Fornek turn in a sidebar on the Ditka for Senate movement.

DIT-ka! DIT-ka! Former Super Bowl-winning coach for the Chicago bears and Hall-of-Fame player, Mike Ditka has surfaced as a favorite of many Hill and state Republicans, now that Steve Rauschenberger's has withdrawn from the Illinois Senate race, The Hill's Patrick O'Connor of reports. LINK

Note Exclusive: What happened in Iowa?:

What the heck happened in Iowa. How did Howard Dean go from 50,000 solid Ones to 18 percent in the polls? How did John Kerry manage to quietly assemble a field team that beat Gephardt and his unions?

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