The Note

The Madison Capital Times' David Callender reports that Kerry will be in Green Bay, Wis., next Thursday and Friday for a rally and a town hall meeting. Callender Notes the Badger Poll showing Bush leading Kerry by 12 points, and the St. Norbert College poll showing Kerry leading Bush just 1 point outside the margin of error. He also points out that despite Kerry's statement last week that he's taking Wisconsin very seriously, the campaign has a state spokesman but no statewide coordinator. LINK

Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Notes that President Bush has visited Wisconsin twice and Vice President Cheney has been there once since Kerry was last there April 8. LINK

In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Jason Zengerle takes a look at the veterans groups that are supporting and opposing John Kerry, debating whether, despite the central role of Kerry's military service in his biography and his campaign, he really will get a big share of the veterans' vote.

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry and Nader:

Dan Balz of the Washington Post reports that Ralph Nader is telling a different story than Kerry aides about whether Iraq came up during their talk Wednesday. Nader says he talked about the need for Kerry to have a public exit strategy from Iraq; Steve Elmendorf and Mary Beth Cahill don't remember the subject coming up. LINK Perhaps Nader will continue to clarify when he sits down to talk with George Stephanopoulos for Sunday's "This Week." Check your local listings, and be sure to tune in.

Veepstakes: For the Gang of 500, the dream will never die.

The Washington Post 's David Ignatius writes that neither Bush nor Kerry are able to reach across the ideological divide to unite the Red and Blue states — but John McCain can. LINK "The Arizona Republican is a cranky, impulsive, headstrong man. But there is something of greatness about him," the smitten Ignatius writes. "Simply put, the country needs him. The logic of a Kerry-McCain ticket isn't to win an election but to provide leadership for a divided country at war."

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:

The Wall Street Journal 's Pollack gets three Madison Avenue ad execs to weigh in on the relative effectiveness of Bush and Kerry's ads — boring, trite, meaningless, we say.

Knight Ridder's Steven Thomma writes about how the southwestern part of the country is arguably up for grabs. LINK The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Scott Shepard writes that Kerry, "who once said he didn't need the South's support to win the presidency, will compete there after all." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds: Mrs. Bush received some splashy front-page treatment from the Albuquerque Journal today as only the surrogate-in-chief can.

Before holding a news conference supporting her husband's funding and support for No Child Left Behind, "[Mrs.] Bush read to first-graders in teacher Alisa Valdez's class, a quiet bunch that fidgeted when they posed for a picture with the first lady. Seven-year-old Matthew Taylor invited her to dinner."

The Santa Fe New Mexican Notes Marc Brown's "Arthur Writes a Story" was Mrs. Bush's reading selection yesterday. LINK

The New Mexican also reports the Albuquerque school board is cutting 83 jobs in its attempt to close a $40 million budget gap. LINK

Some moderate Republicans joined Democrats in the Arizona legislature to pass a $7.4 billion budget plan. The Arizona Republic declares it a "dramatic victory for the political center." LINK

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