The Note

"Without the rules to keep rates in check, regional phone companies could well boost the prices they charge rivals to use their phone lines. That cost would likely be passed on to consumers, industry and government officials say."

Salon looks at some not so full-throated supportive GOP Senators who aren't named McCain or Hagel. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Senator John Kerry

On "Good Morning America," ABC News' Dan Harris looked at the delicate, daily decision of whether Kerry should address the prisoner abuse scandal. Kerry's problem: when he speaks softly, anxious Democrats accuse him of lacking leadership and aggressiveness. But when he speaks out, like he did on Fox News last night, Republicans pounce.

The Boston Globe's Pat Healy delivers a look at the battleground state of New Hampshire and those staunchly anti-war Naderites who are planning on voting for Sen. Kerry this time around. "Al Gore lost here in 2000 by 7,200 votes, and many Democrats blamed Nader, who drew 22,000 votes. It is this psychology of defeat, a fear of throwing the election to Bush, that will steer Naderites, as well as many undecided voters, to Kerry's side, campaign officials say." LINK

But an unnamed Kerry strategist is skeptical: "Another Kerry strategist, who asked not to be named, said 'hard-core antiwar voters' were a greater threat to Democrats than Nader. This strategist expressed concern that such voters might simply stay home in November if they feel that Bush, Kerry, and Nader all lack a plan for Iraq."

Yesterday's meeting between senior campaign officials and members of the Congressional Black Caucus from key battleground states brought about a new plan for helping the Kerry campaign court black voters, the AP reports. "Campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill and chief communications strategist Bob Shrum agreed to visit with them weekly, at least by phone, and Kerry himself expects to participate about every two weeks. The campaign also announced the hiring of Broderick Johnson, a former vice president of congressional relations for AT&T Corp., who will become Kerry's congressional liaison." LINK

More AP: "Besides the commitment to regular meetings, the campaign agreed to major newspaper, radio and television ad buys targeting blacks in a handful of toss-up states, including Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana and Missouri."

Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times writes up John Kerry's embrace of Bill Clinton (tardiness and all) in Arkansas this week. LINK

At least the AP's Mike Glover gives some attention to Sen. Kerry's health care message. LINK

"Flip-Flop Kerry … " is how the New York Post began its headline on Deb Orin's story today about the Senator's support for the $25 billion. LINK

Lloyd Grove reports New York Magazine is paying $10,000 to former Associated Press intern Alexandra Polier to write her account of what it was like to be at the center of a political rumor firestorm. LINK

Best Wall Street Journal correction of the day, and we want to know how it came about: "Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has hunted doves with a shotgun. A May 7 article incorrectly said that he used a rifle."

Ad traffic this week: A bonanza of new ads this week from outside groups, with the buys ranging from very teeny to somewhat significant.

The Kerry campaign continues his bio ads in an effort to let voters know more about him.

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