The Note

"The approach taken by the action-movie hero stands in contrast to the low-profile way others have remembered fallen soldiers. The Bush administration, for instance, has enforced a ban on media photos of soldiers' coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware."

Sen. John McCain praises those who Sen. James Inhoffe derisively labeled as "humanitarian do-gooders" in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

South Dakota special election:

Today South Dakotans head to the polls to choose between Democrat Stephanie Herseth and Republican Larry Diedrich as their new Representative. Either Diedrich or Herseth will replace Republican Rep. Bill Janklow, who resigned in January after being convicted of second-degree manslaughter for hitting a motorcyclist with his car and killing him on a South Dakota highway last year.

The race has been a battle for name recognition and attention, and heavy hitters have come out to stump for both candidates: First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Lynne Cheney have all campaigned for Diedrich, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has hit the road for Herseth. House Democrats are looking to win not only the seat, but also bragging rights to two wins in a row in seats formerly held by Republicans (after Democrat Ben Chandler's victory in Kentucky's 6th district in February).

Regardless of who wins, both candidates are expected to campaign for the remainder of the year and face-off again in November. Of course, a big dynamic difference then will be that one of them will be the incumbent.

Polls open at 8:00 am ET and close at 9:00 pm ET.

Keloland.com previews today's South Dakota special showdown. LINK

The Hill covers Diedrich's all-but-pre-concession, Noting that Republicans think they can do much better in November. LINK

ABC New Vote 2004: the House:

The AP's Jim Abrams reports that Rep. Steny Hoyer thinks that 2004 has all the makings to be 1994-like, but in an opposite direction. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

In case you weren't eyeballing Noted Now yesterday: A new poll by the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV shows Democrat Barack Obama leading Republican Jack Ryan in the U.S. Senate race by a whopping 22 percentage points, 52 percent to 30 percent. LINK

The politics of gas prices:

The New York Times front-pages from Denver how gas prices are hurting people in every day life. LINK

The Washington Post's David Ignatius thinks gas prices are too low but understands, "America likes roaring down Thunder Road, playing chicken with the oil cartel." LINK

Big casino budget politics:

You'll want to read the Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook opus on the intramural fight in the Republican Party over its proximate and ultimate economic ideology, including a nuanced look at the proposed Paygo rules.

"The stakes are especially high in an election year, when tax cuts are the glue holding the Republicans' domestic agenda together. Bush's proposal to make his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent is a central plank of his reelection platform. The pay-as-you-go rule would present an enormous hurdle to fulfilling that pledge if Bush wins a second term." LINK

Big casino budget politics: Medicare:

Medicare drug discount cards kick off today, to some uncertainty, the New York Times leads. LINK

Nader:

Newsweek sat down for a conversation with Ralph Nader about his temperament for the presidency, the state of the political parties, his meeting with John Kerry, and his potential role as a spoiler. LINK

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